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Firn depth correction along the Antarctic grounding line

  • Michiel van den Broeke (a1), Willem Jan van de Berg (a1) and Erik van Meijgaard (a2)


To reduce the uncertainty in the calculation of Antarctic solid ice fluxes, the firn depth correction (Δh) in Antarctica is inferred from a steady-state firn densification model forced by a regional atmospheric climate model. The modelled density agrees well with observations from firn cores, apart from a site at the origin of fast flowing West Antarctic ice stream (Upstream B), where densification is anomalously rapid. The spatial distribution of Δh over Antarctica shows large variations, especially in the grounding line zone where large climate gradients exist. In places where the grounding line crosses ablation areas, Δh is zero. Along the remainder of the grounding line, Δh values range from typically 13 m in dry coastal areas (e.g. Dronning Maud Land) to 19 m in wet coastal areas (e.g. West Antarctica).


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