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On elevation models as input for mass-balance calculations of the Greenland ice sheet

  • R. S. W. van de Wal (a1) and S. Ekholm (a2)

Abstract

In this paper the elevation model for the Greenland ice sheet based upon radio-echo-sounding flights of the Technical University of Denmark (TUD) (Letréguilly and others, 1991) are compared with the satellite-altimetry model (Tscherning and others, 1993) improved with airborne-laser and radar altimetry (IA model). Although the general hypsometry of both data sets is rather similar, differences seem to be large at individual points along the ice margin. Over the entire ice sheet, the difference between the IA model and the TUD model is 33 m with a root-mean-square error of 112 m. Differential GPS measurements collected in the ice-marginal zone near Søndre Strømfjord show that the IA model is more accurate than the TUD model. The latter data set underestimates the elevation by approximately 150 m in the ice-marginal zone near Søndre Strømfjord.

Calculation of the ablation with an energy-balance model and with a degree-day model points to a 20% decrease in the ablation if the IA model is used. Not only does this show the sensitivity of ablation calculations to the orographic input but it also indicates that the ablation calculated by the models used nowadays is relatively overestimated.

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References

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On elevation models as input for mass-balance calculations of the Greenland ice sheet

  • R. S. W. van de Wal (a1) and S. Ekholm (a2)

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