Twelve years of Amundsen and Bellingshausen Coast Thinning Observed with Altimetry and Photogrammetry.
Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:35 AM
From the start of the airborne laser surveys in late 2002 until the present, the elevation record for the Amundsen Coast of Antarctica from small-footprint elevation measurements now spans more than a dozen years: Laser-altimetry measurements on tracks spaced tens of km apart are available from ATM, LVIS, and ICESat; Worldview stereophotogrammetry (SP) gives high-resolution snapshots of surface topography for selected parts of the coast, and CRYOSAT gives high-temporal-resolution, spatially dense radar measurements, at modestly lower precision than the other sensors. We present synoptic estimates of elevation change based on judicious combinations of these data. Two sets of techniques yield complementary results: Combining laser-derived elevations with SP DEMs gives an elevation-change map covering most outlets with near-annual resolution between 2003 and the present, while combining Cryosat data with SP DEMs gives a database of radar elevations with improved ambiguity resolution that we process to estimate surface elevation changes between mid 2010 and the present. Firn and accumulation models help reduce the effects of accumulation variability on the derived elevation rates, allowing estimates of steady-atmosphere (“dynamic”) mass-change rates. These data reveal variable but increasing mass loss from Thwaites and Haynes glaciers, continuing mass loss from the glaciers draining into the Dotson and Crosson ice shelves, and significant losses on Alison ice stream and Ferrigno glacier on the Bellingshausen coast. There is also evidence for a recent hiatus in strong elevation change in parts of the grounding zone of Pine Island glacier, after nearly a decade of accelerating losses there. We discuss these findings in the context of measured surface speed changes and model estimates of ocean temperature variations.