Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Dynamics and mass balance of four large East Antarctic outlet glaciers

  • Leigh A. Stearns (a1)

Abstract

The East Antarctic ice sheet (EAIS) is Earth’s largest reservoir of fresh water and has the potential to raise sea level by ~50 m. A significant amount of the ice sheet’s mass is discharged by outlet glaciers draining through the Transantarctic Mountains, the balance characteristics of which are largely unknown. Here the mass balance is estimated for four glaciers draining ice from the EAIS through the Transantarctic Mountains into the Ross Sea embayment: David, Mulock, Byrd and Nimrod glaciers. Remote-sensing observations are used to map changes in ice flow and surface elevation, and ultimately to compute the mass balance of each glacier using the input–output method and three separate estimates for accumulation rate. Results computed using this method indicate small positive balances for David (2.41±1.31 Gt a–1), Mulock (1.91±0.84 Gt a–1) and Nimrod (0.88±0.39 Gt a–1) glaciers, and a large positive imbalance for Byrd Glacier (21.67±4.04 Gt a–1). This large imbalance for Byrd Glacier is inconsistent with other observations, and is likely due to an overestimation of accumulation rates across large regions of the interior catchment.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Dynamics and mass balance of four large East Antarctic outlet glaciers
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Dynamics and mass balance of four large East Antarctic outlet glaciers
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Dynamics and mass balance of four large East Antarctic outlet glaciers
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Arthern, R.J., Winebrenner, D.P. and Vaughan, D.G.. 2006. Antarctic snow accumulation mapped using polarization of 4.3-cm wavelength microwave emission. J. Geophys. Res., 111(D6), D06107. (10.1029/2004JD005667.)
Bindschadler, R.A., King, M.A., Alley, R.B., Anandakrishnan, S. and Padman, L.. 2003. Tidally controlled stick–slip discharge of a West Antarctic ice stream. Science, 301(5636), 1087–1089.
Bindschadler, R. and 17 others. 2011. Getting around Antarctica: new high-resolution mappings of the grounded and freely-floating boundaries of the Antarctic ice sheet created for the International Polar Year. Cryos. Discuss., 5(1), 183–227.
Brecher, H.H. 1982. Photographic determination of surface velocities and elevations on Byrd Glacier. Antarct. J. US, 17(5), 79–81.
Brunt, K.M., Fricker, H.A., Padman, L., Scambos, T.A. and O’Neel, S.. 2010. Mapping the grounding zone of Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, using ICESat laser altimetry. Ann. Glaciol., 51(55), 71–79.
Chen, J.L., Wilson, C.R., Blankenship, D. and Tapley, B.D.. 2009. Accelerated Antarctic ice loss from satellite gravity measurements. Nature Geosci., 2(12), 859–862.
Davis, C.H. and Ferguson, A.C.. 2004. Elevation change of the Antarctic ice sheet, 1995–2000, from ERS-2 satellite radar altimetry. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 42(11), 2437–2445.
Davis, C.H., Li, Y., McConnell, J.R., Frey, M.M. and Hanna, E.. 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise. Science, 308(5730), 1898–1901.
Dupont, T.K. and Alley, R.B.. 2005. Assessment of the importance of ice-shelf buttressing to ice-sheet flow. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32(4), L04503. (10.1029/2004GL022024.)
Eisen, O. and 15 others. 2008. Ground-based measurements of spatial and temporal variability of snow accumulation in East Antarctica. Rev. Geophys., 46(RG2), RG2001. (10.1029/ 2006RG000218.)
Frezzotti, M. 1993. Glaciological study in Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, inferred from remote-sensing analysis. Ann. Glaciol., 17, 63–71.
Frezzotti, M., Capra, A. and Vittuari, L.. 1998. Comparison between glacier ice velocities inferred from GPS and sequential satellite images. Ann. Glaciol., 27, 54–60.
Frezzotti, M., Tabacco, I.E. and Zirizzotti, A.. 2000. Ice discharge of eastern Dome C drainage area, Antarctica, determined from airborne radar survey and satellite image analysis. J. Glaciol., 46(153), 253–264.
Frezzotti, M., Urbini, S., Proposito, M., Scarchilli, C. and Gandolfi, S.. 2007. Spatial and temporal variability of surface mass balance near Talos Dome, East Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res., 112(F2), F02032. (10.1029/2006JF000638.)
Fujisada, H., Bailey, G.B., Kelly, G.G., Hara, S. and Abrams, M.J.. 2005. ASTER DEM performance. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 43(12), 2707–2714.
Gagliardini, O., Durand, G., Zwinger, T., Hindmarsh, R.C.A. and Le Meur, E.. 2010. Coupling of ice-shelf melting and buttressing is a key process in ice-sheets dynamics. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37(14), L14501. (10.1029/2010GL043334.)
Giovinetto, M.B. and Bentley, C.R.. 1985. Surface balance in ice drainage systems of Antarctica. Antarct. J. US, 20(4), 6–13.
Helsen, M.M. and 7 others. 2008. Elevation changes in Antarctica mainly determined by accumulation variability. Science, 320(5883), 1626–1629.
Hughes, T.J. and Fastook, J.L.. 1981. Byrd Glacier: 1978–1979 field results. Antarct. J. US, 16(5), 86–89.
Hulbe, C. and Fahnestock, M.. 2007. Century-scale discharge stagnation and reactivation of the Ross ice streams, West Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res., 112(F3), F03S27. (10.1029/ 2006JF000603.)
Jezek, K.C., Liu, H., Zhao, Z. and Li, B.. 1999. Improving a digital elevation model of Antarctica using radar remote sensing data and GIS techniques. Polar Geogr., 23(3), 185–200.
Joughin, I., Rignot, E., Rosanova, C.E., Lucchitta, B.K. and Bohlander, J.. 2003. Timing of recent accelerations of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica. Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(13), 1706. (10.1029/ 2003GL017609.)
Kääb, A. 2002. Monitoring high-mountain terrain deformation from repeated air- and spaceborne optical data: examples using digital aerial imagery and ASTER data. ISPRS J. Photogramm. Remote Sens., 57(1–2), 39–52.
Kenneally, J.P. and Hughes, T.J.. 2004. Basal melting along the floating part of Byrd Glacier. Antarct. Sci., 16(3), 355–358.
Korona, J., Berthier, E., Bernard, M., Rémy, F. and Thouvenot, E.. 2009. SPIRIT. SPOT 5 stereoscopic survey of Polar Ice: Reference Images and Topographies during the fourth International Polar Year (2007–2009). ISPRS J. Photogramm. Rem. Sens., 64(2), 2823–2830.
Kurtz, D.D. and Bromwich, D.H.. 1983. Satellite observed behavior of the Terra Nova Bay polynya. J. Geophys. Res., 88(C14), 9717–9722.
Le Brocq, A.M., Payne, A.J. and Vieli, A.. 2010. An improved Antarctic dataset for high resolution numerical ice sheet models (ALBMAP v1). Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 2(2), 247–260.
Lenaerts, J., van den Broeke, M.R., van de Berg, W.J., van Meijgaard, E. and Kuipers Munneke, P.. In press. A new, high-resolution surface mass balance map of Antarctica (1989–2009) based on regional atmospheric climate modeling. Geophys. Res. Lett.
Liu, H., Jezek, K.C. and Li, B.. 1999. Development of an Antarctic digital elevation model by integrating cartographic and remotely sensed data: a geographic information system based approach. J. Geophys. Res., 104(B10), 23,199–23,213.
Lythe, M.B., Vaughan, D.G. and BEDMAP consortium. 2001. BEDMAP: a new ice thickness and subglacial topographic model of Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res., 106(B6), 11,335–11,351.
Magand, O. and 6 others. 2007. An up-to-date quality-controlled surface mass balance data set for the 90˚–180˚E Antarctica sector and 1950–2005 period. J. Geophys. Res., 112(D12), D12106. (10.1029/2006JD007691.)
Nick, F.M., Vieli, A., Howat, I.M. and Joughin, I.. 2009. Large-scale changes in Greenland outlet glacier dynamics triggered at the terminus. Nature Geosci., 2(2), 110–114.
Payne, A.J., Vieli, A., Shepherd, A., Wingham, D.J. and Rignot, E.. 2004. Recent dramatic thinning of largest West Antarctic ice stream triggered by oceans. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(23), L23401. (10.1029/2004GL021284.)
Price, S.F. and Whillans, I.M.. 1998. Delineation of a catchment boundary using velocity and elevation measurements. Ann. Glaciol., 27, 140–144.
Pritchard, H.D. and Vaughan, D.G.. 2007. Widespread acceleration of tidewater glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula. J. Geophys. Res., 112(F3), F03S29. (10.1029/2006JF000597.)
Pritchard, H.D., Arthern, R.J., Vaughan, D.G. and Edwards, L.A.. 2009. Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Nature, 461(7266), 971–975.
Ramillien, G. and 6 others. 2006. Interannual variations of the mass balance of the Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets from GRACE. Global Planet. Change, 53(3), 198–208.
Retzlaff, R., Lord, N. and Bentley, C.R.. 1993. Airborne-radar studies: Ice Streams A, B and C, West Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 39(133), 495–506.
Rignot, E. 2001. Evidence for rapid retreat and mass loss of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 47(157), 213–222.
Rignot, E. 2002. Mass balance of East Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves from satellite data. Ann. Glaciol., 34, 217–227.
Rignot, E. and Jacobs, S.S.. 2002. Rapid bottom melting widespread near Antarctic ice sheet grounding lines. Science, 296(5575), 2020–2023.
Rignot, E. and Thomas, R.H.. 2002. Mass balance of polar ice sheets. Science, 297(5586), 1502–1506.
Rignot, E. and 6 others. 2008. Recent Antarctic ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling. Nature Geosci., 1(2), 106–110.
Scambos, T.A., Dutkiewicz, M.J., Wilson, J.C. and Bindschadler, R.A.. 1992. Application of image cross-correlation to the measurement of glacier velocity using satellite image data. Remote Sens. Environ., 42(3), 177–186.
Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Shuman, C.A. and Skvarca, P.. 2004. Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(18), L18402. (10.1029/2004GL020670.)
Scarchilli, C., Frezzotti, M., Grigioni, P., De Silvestri, L., Agnoletto, L. and Dolci, S.. 2010. Extraordinary blowing snow transport events in East Antarctica. Climate Dyn., 34(7–8), 1195–1206.
Schenk, T., Csatho, B., van der Veen, C.J., Brecher, H., Ahn, Y. and Yoon, T.. 2005. Registering imagery to ICESat data for measuring elevation changes on Byrd Glacier, Antarctica. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32(23), L23S05. (10.1029/2005GL024328.)
Shepherd, A. and Wingham, D.. 2007. Recent sea-level contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Science, 315(5818), 1529–1532.
Shepherd, A., Wingham, D. and Rignot, E.. 2004. Warm ocean is eroding West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(23), L23404. (10.1029/2004GL021106.)
Stearns, L.A. 2007. Outlet glacier dynamics in East Greenland and East Antarctica. (PhD thesis, University of Maine.)
Stearns, L.A. and Hamilton, G.S.. 2007. Rapid volume loss from two East Greenland outlet glaciers quantified using repeat stereo satellite imagery. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(5), L05503. (10.1029/ 2006GL028982.)
Stearns, L.A., Jezek, K.C. and van der Veen, C.J.. 2005. Decadal-scale variations in ice flow along Whillans Ice Stream and its tributaries, West Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 51(172), 147–157.
Stearns, L.A., Smith, B.E. and Hamilton, G.S.. 2008. Increased flow speed on a large East Antarctic outlet glacier caused by subglacial floods. Nature Geosci., 1(12), 827–831.
Swithinbank, C.W. 1963. Ice movement of valley glaciers flowing into the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Science, 141(3580), 523–524.
Thomas, R.H. 2004. Force-perturbation analysis of recent thinning and acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland. J. Glaciol., 50(168), 57–66.
Van de Berg, W.J., van den Broeke, M.R., Reijmer, C.H. and van Meijgaard, E.. 2006. Reassessment of the Antarctic surface mass balance using calibrated output of a regional atmospheric climate model. J. Geophys. Res., 111(D11), D11104. (10.1029/ 2005JD006495.)
Van de Wal, R.S.W. and 6 others. 2008. Large and rapid melt-induced velocity changes in the ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 321(5885), 111–113.
Van den Broeke, M., van de Berg, W.J. and van Meijgaard, E.. 2008. Firn depth correction along the Antarctic grounding line. Antarct. Sci., 20(5), 513–517.
Vaughan, D.G., Bamber, J.L., Giovinetto, M.B., Russell, J. and Cooper, A.P.R.. 1999. Reassessment of net surface mass balance in Antarctica. J. Climate, 12(4), 933–946.
Whillans, I.M., Chen, Y.H., van der Veen, C.J. and Hughes, T.J.. 1989. Force budget: III. Application to three-dimensional flow of Byrd Glacier, Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 35(119), 68–80.
Wingham, D.J., Shepherd, A., Muir, A. and Marshall, G.J.. 2006. Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London, Ser. A, 364(1844), 1627–1635.
Wu, X.M. and 8 others. 2010. Simultaneous estimation of global present-day water transport and glacial isostatic adjustment. Nature Geosci., 3(9), 642–646.
Wuite, J., Jezek, K.C., Wu, X., Farness, K. and Carande, R.. 2009. The velocity field and flow regime of David Glacier and Drygalski Ice Tongue, Antarctica. Polar Geogr., 32(3–4), 111–127.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed