Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet Mass Balance from Satellite and Airborne Altimetry

Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Kate Briggs1, Andrew Shepherd2, Malcolm McMillan2, Lin Gilbert3, Alan Muir3 and Thomas Flament4, (1)University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, (2)University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2, United Kingdom, (3)University College London, London, United Kingdom, (4)University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment, Leeds, United Kingdom
Substantial environmental changes are occurring over the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), including rapid climate warming, ice shelf collapse, and accelerated glacier thinning and flow. These changes have major implications for the regional ice sheet mass balance and for global sea level rise. Geodetic estimates of the AP Ice Sheet (APIS) mass balance indicate that it lost mass at an average rate of 20 ± 14 Gt/yr over the period 1992-2011 (Shepherd et al., 2012); this equates to approximately 25% of all Antarctic ice sheet mass losses, despite occupying only 4% of the continental area.

Past estimates of mass change have either been at a low resolution (gravimetry) or have had sparse spatial sampling (the mass budget method and altimetry). As a consequence, regional patterns of mass change are not well captured which makes understanding the causes difficult. Through the combination of ERS-2, EnviSat, ICESat, ATM and CryoSat-2 altimetry datasets we have succeeded in generating a mass change time series for the APIS with sufficient resolution and spatial sampling to capture regional signals. Here we will present our methods for the optimisation, combination and interpolation of the elevation change measurements, and their conversion to mass change. Furthermore, the observed spatial and temporal trends in APIS mass balance will be examined and the possible causes explored.