Surface Mass Balance around the Japanese Antarctic Station, Syowa, in East Antarctica
Abstract:Many studies have revealed that the ice sheet mass loss in Antarctica has been accelerating in recent years. It is mainly due to the large-scale ice sheet melting or runoff in West Antarctica. In the meantime, recent investigations using GRACE, Envisat/IceSat, and other geodetic and/or glociological measurements show that the ice sheet mass is slightly increasing in East Antarctica, particularly in the region from Dronning Maud Land to Enderby Land, where a Japanese Antarctic station, Syowa, is located. In the same area, there is Shirase Glacier, one of the major glaciers in Antarctica. While Shirase Glacier is expected to control the ice sheet floor or runoff of the drainage area, a significant surface mass increase has been observed in the downstream area of the glacier.
To sketch out the ice mass changes of Shirase Glacier, we firstly estimated regional average of inter-annual mass variations using GRACE data from March 2002 to March 2014. The result showed that the mass increase was +23.7 Gt/yr, which was mainly caused by surface ice sheet mass changes, because the GIA mass trend in the region was expecdted to be small. Next, in order to investigate the mechanism of the mass changes, we compared the GRACE-derived surface mass change with the ones estimated from the altimeter data and RACMO SMB data. The results showed that the surface mass changes have mainly been controled by the surface winds and the surface/basement topography, althought the melting or the runoff process have not been clear yet. The peak of the positive trend was observed near Syowa station at the mouth of the Shirase Glacier (38.6E, 70.5S). Therefore, we also report GNSS buoys, gravity measurements, and other in-site observations planed by Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE) for investigating the mass changes.