20 Dec 2021
20 Dec 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Uncertainties in mass balance estimation of the Antarctic Ice Sheet using the input and output method

Yijing Lin1,2,, Yan Liu1,3,, Zhitong Yu2, Xiao Cheng1,3,4, Qiang Shen5, and Liyun Zhao1,3 Yijing Lin et al.
  • 1College of Global Change and Earth System Science (GCESS), Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China & Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519082, China
  • 2Qian Xuesen Laboratory of Space Technology, China Academy of Space Technology, Beijing 100094, China
  • 3Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, Zhuhai 519082, China
  • 4School of Geospatial Engineering and Science, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China
  • 5State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth’s Dynamics, Innovation Academy for Precision Measurement Science and Technology, CAS, Wuhan 430077, China
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. The input-output method (IOM) is one of the most popular methods of estimating the ice sheet mass balance (MB), with a significant advantage in presenting the dynamics response of ice to climate change. Assessing the uncertainties of the MB estimation using the IOM is crucial to gaining a clear understanding of the Antarctic ice-sheet mass budget. Here, we introduce a framework for assessing the uncertainties in the MB estimation due to the methodological differences in the IOM, the impact of the parameterization and scale effect on the modeled surface mass balance (SMB, input), and the impact of the uncertainties of ice thickness, ice velocity, and grounding line data on ice discharge (D, output). For the assessment of the D’s uncertainty, we present D at a fine scale. Compared with the goal of determining the Antarctic MB within an uncertainty of 15 Gt yr−1, we found that the different strategies employed in the methods cause considerable uncertainties in the annual MB estimation. The uncertainty of the RACMO2.3 SMB caused by its parameterization can reach 20.4 Gt yr−1, while that due to the scale effect is up to 216.7 Gt yr−1. The observation precisions of the MEaSUREs InSAR-based velocity (1–17 m yr−1), the airborne radio-echo sounder thickness (±100 m), and the MEaSUREs InSAR-based grounding line (±100 m) contribute uncertainties of 17.1 Gt yr−1, 10.5 ± 2.7 Gt yr−1 and 8.0~27.8 Gt yr−1 to the D, respectively. However, the D’s uncertainty due to the remarkable ice thickness data gap, which is represented by the thickness difference between the BEDMAP2 and the BedMachine reaches 101.7 Gt yr−1, which indicates its dominant cause of the future D’s uncertainty. In addition, the interannual variability of D caused by the annual changes in the ice velocity and ice thickness are considerable compared with the target uncertainty of 15 Gt yr−1, which cannot be ignored in annual MB estimations.

Yijing Lin et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-325', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Jan 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Yijing Lin, 14 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-325', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Yijing Lin, 14 Mar 2022

Yijing Lin et al.

Yijing Lin et al.


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Short summary
We introduce an uncertainty analysis framework for comprehensively and systematically quantifying the uncertainties of the Antarctic mass balance using the Input and Output Method. It is difficult to use the previous strategies employed in various methods and the available data to achieve the goal of estimation accuracy. The dominant cause of the future uncertainty is the ice thickness data gap. The interannual variability of ice discharge caused by velocity and thickness is also nonnegligible.