Mass balance of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago using a combination of remote sensing and climate modeling techniques.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Enrico Ciraci1, Isabella Velicogna2, Eric J Rignot3, Jeremie Mouginot3 and Michiel R van den Broeke4, (1)University California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States, (2)University of California Irvine, Department of Earth System Science, Irvine, CA, United States, (3)University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States, (4)Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
The Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) hosts some of the largest glaciers and ice caps (GIC) outside Greenland and Antarctica and contains one-third of the global volume of land ice outside the ice sheets. Recent observations from satellite and airborne data indicate a large mass loss in that region. Here, we use time series of time-variable gravity from the NASA/DLR GRACE mission using a mascon approach to update the ice mass balance of this region till present. We find a mass loss of 73 Gt/year for April 2003 - December 2013. The mass loss per unit area is disproportionally large compared to that of the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. At the basin scale, we examine laser altimetry records from NASA’s ICESat-1 (2003-2009) and Operation IceBridge’s Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) to delineate areas of thinning and compare the results with surface mass balance (SMB) output products from the Regional Atmospheric and Climate Model (RACMO). We detect the signature of enhanced thinning along some of the CAA fast moving glaciers. Finally, we assemble a reference map of ice velocity from satellite radar interferometry, which we combine with existing ice thickness data to assess the mass flux and state of mass balance of the largest, fast-moving glaciers. Ice velocity from different years (1996 – 2006 - 2013) is used to construct time series of mass loss from the mass budget method. Combining these different sets of information, we address the issue of the partitioning of the mass loss between changes in SMB (essentially melt) and changes in ice dynamics (acceleration of glacier flow) to provide insights about the cause of the CAA change in mass balance in the last decades.