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

REMA reveals spatial variability within the Dotson Melt Channel

Ann-Sofie Priergaard Zinck, Bert Wouters, Erwin Lambert, and Stef Lhermitte

Abstract. The intrusion of warm circumpolar deep water causes ice shelves in the Amundsen and Bellinghausen Sea Embayments of Antarctica to melt from below, thereby potentially putting their stability at risk. Earlier studies have shown how digital elevation models can be used to obtain high-resolution ice shelf basal melt rates. However, there has been limited availability of high-resolution elevation data, a gap the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) has filled. In this study we use a novel combination of REMA and CryoSat-2 elevation data to obtain high-resolution basal melt rates of the Dotson Ice Shelf in a Lagrangian framework, at a 50 m spatial resolution on a 3-yearly temporal resolution. We present a novel Basal melt rates Using REMA and Google Earth Engine (BURGEE) method, which high resolution is supported through a sensitivity study assuming that the quality of the Lagrangian displacement is the main error source. The high-resolution basal melt rates show a good agreement with an earlier 500-m resolution basal melt product based on CryoSat-2, with a wide melt channel extending from the grounding line to the ice shelf front. Our high-resolution product indicates that the pathway and spatial variability of the main channel is influenced by a pinning point on the ice shelf. Additionally, it reveals a narrower coastal channel running along the western margin, which was not identified in the lower-resolution melt product, but does show up in a recent ocean modeling study. This emphasizes the importance of high-resolution basal melt rates to expand our understanding of channel formation and melt patterns. BURGEE can be expanded to a Pan-Antarctic study of high-resolution basal melt rates. This will provide a better picture of the (in)stability of Antarctic ice shelves.

Ann-Sofie Priergaard Zinck et al.

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Ann-Sofie Priergaard Zinck et al.

Data sets

Dataset belonging to the article: REMA reveals spatial variability within the Dotson Melt Channel Ann-Sofie P. Zinck, Bert Wouters, Erwin Lamber and Stef Lhermitte

Model code and software

BURGEE Ann-Sofie P. Zinck

Ann-Sofie Priergaard Zinck et al.


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Short summary
The ice shelves in Antarctica are melting from below, which put their stability at risk. Therefore, it is important to observe how much and where they are melting. In this study we use high resolution satellite imagery to derive 50 m resolution basal melt rates of the Dotson Ice Shelf. With the high resolution of our product we are able to uncover small-scale features which may in the future help us to understand the state and fate of the Antarctic ice shelves and their (in)stability.