07 Aug 2023
 | 07 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Amundsen Sea Embayment accumulation variability measured with GNSS-IR

Andrew O. Hoffman, Michelle Maclennan, Jan Lenaerts, Kristine M. Larson, and Knut Chrsitianson

Abstract. In order to improve projections of the future ice-sheet surface mass balance and the interpretation of the isotopic signals of past accumulation preserved in ice cores, it is critical to understand the mechanisms that transport water vapor to the Antarctic continent. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers distributed across Antarctica to monitor ice velocity and solid Earth motion can be used to understand accumulation, ablation, and snow redistribution at the ice-sheet surface. Here, we present a forward model for reflector height change between the GNSS antenna phase center and the snow surface and an inverse framework to determine accumulation rate and near-surface firn densification from the reflector height time series. We use this model to determine accumulation at the sites of three long-term on-ice GNSS receivers located in the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) and at a network of GNSS receivers deployed in 2007–2008, 2008–2009, and 2009–2010 austral summers. From the GNSS-IR accumulation reconstructions, we find that extreme precipitation dominates total precipitation and that extreme event frequency varies seasonally. We use our GNSS-IR accumulation reconstructions together with reanalysis products to characterize the atmospheric conditions that promote extreme snowfall in the ASE. The blocking pressure systems that promote extreme accumulation on Thwaites Glacier are facilitated by tropical teleconnections, specifically convection that promotes Rossby waves trains from the Western Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans to the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas.

Andrew O. Hoffman et al.

Status: open (until 31 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • AC1: 'supplemental video and Atmospheric river catalog', Andrew Hoffman, 08 Aug 2023 reply

Andrew O. Hoffman et al.

Andrew O. Hoffman et al.


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Short summary
Traditionally, glaciologists have used GNSS to measure the surface elevation, and velocity of glaciers to understand processes associated with ice flow. Using the interference of GNSS signals that bounce off of the ice sheet surface, we measure the surface height change of several receivers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment. From surface height change, we infer accumulation records and use these records to understand the drivers of extreme precipitation on Thwaites Glacier.