The Cryosphere Discuss., 4, 767-786, 2010
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Spatially extensive estimates in annual accumulation in the dry zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet inferred from radar altimetry
S. de la Peña1, P. Nienow1, A. Shepherd2, V. Helm3, D. Mair4, E. Hanna5, P. Huybrechts6, Q. Guo7, R. Cullen8, and D. J. Wingham9
1School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. Institute of Geography, Drummond St., Edinburgh, EH8 9XP, UK
2School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
3Alfred Wegener Institute, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570, Bremerhaven, Germany
4Department of Geography and Environment, University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF, UK
5Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
6Department of Geography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2 1050 Elsene, Brussels, Belgium
7School of Engineering, University of California Merced, 5200 North Lake Rd. Merced, CA 95343, USA
8European Space Agency ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1 Postbus 299 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
9Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

Abstract. We present estimates of accumulation rate along a 200 km transect ranging in elevation from 2750 to 3165 m in the dry snow zone on the western slope of the Greenland Ice Sheet. An airborne radar altimeter is used to estimate the thickness of annual internal layers and, in conjunction with ground based snow/firn density profiles, annual accumulation rates between 1998 and 2003 are derived. The observed inter-annual variability is high, with the annual mean accumulation rate estimated at 0.372 m.w.e. yr−1 (s.d. ± 0.063 m.w.e. yr−1). Mean accumulation rates modelled using meteorological data overestimate our results by 13% on average, but by 37% and 32% in the years 2001 and 2002. The methodology presented here demonstrates the potential to obtain accurate and spatially extensive accumulation rates from radar altimeters in regions of ice sheets where field observations are sparse.

Citation: de la Peña, S., Nienow, P., Shepherd, A., Helm, V., Mair, D., Hanna, E., Huybrechts, P., Guo, Q., Cullen, R., and Wingham, D. J.: Spatially extensive estimates in annual accumulation in the dry zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet inferred from radar altimetry, The Cryosphere Discuss., 4, 767-786, doi:10.5194/tcd-4-767-2010, 2010.
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