Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-317
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-317

  27 Oct 2021

27 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Brief communication: Impact of common ice mask in surface mass balance estimates over the Antarctic ice sheet

Nicolaj Hansen1,2, Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen2, Fredrik Boberg1, Christoph Kittel3, Andrew Orr4, Niels Souverijns5,6, Melchior van Wessem7, and Ruth Mottram1 Nicolaj Hansen et al.
  • 1Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Geodesy and Earth Observation, DTU-Space, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
  • 3Laboratory of Climatology, Department of Geography, SPHERES, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  • 4British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, UK
  • 5Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 6Environmental Modelling Unit, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Mol, Belgium
  • 7Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. Regional climate models compute ice sheet surface mass balance (SMB) over a mask that defines the area covered by glacier ice, but ice masks have not been harmonised between models. Intercomparison studies of modelled SMB therefore use a common ice mask. The SMB in areas outside the common ice mask, which are typically coastal and high precipitation regions, are discarded. Ice mask differences change integrated SMB by between 40.5 to 140.6 Gt yr−1, (1.8 % to 6.0 % of ensemble mean SMB), equivalent to the entire Antarctic mass imbalance. We conclude there is a pressing need for a common ice mask protocol.

Nicolaj Hansen et al.

Status: open (until 22 Dec 2021)

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Nicolaj Hansen et al.

Nicolaj Hansen et al.

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Short summary
We investigate the impact of different ice masks when modelling surface mass balance over Antarctica. We used ice masks and data from five of the most used regional climate model and a common mask, we see large disagreement between the ice masks, which has a large impact on the surface mass balance, especially around the Antarctic Peninsula and some of the largest glacier. We suggest a solution for creating a new, up to date, high resolution ice mask, that can be used in Antarctic modelling.