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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-209
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-209
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Oct 2018

Research article | 16 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Ice shelf basal melt rates from a high-resolution DEM record for Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

David E. Shean1, Ian R. Joughin2, Pierre Dutrieux3, Benjamin E. Smith2, and Etienne Berthier4 David E. Shean et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, 98185, USA
  • 2Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, 98103, USA
  • 3Lamont - Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, 10964, USA
  • 4LEGOS, CNES, CNRS, IRD, UPS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France

Abstract. Ocean-induced basal melting is directly and indirectly responsible for much of the Amundsen Sea Embayment ice loss in recent decades, but the total magnitude and spatiotemporal evolution of this melt is poorly constrained. To address this problem, we generated a record of high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) for Pine Island Glacier (PIG) using commercial sub-meter satellite stereo imagery and integrated additional 2002–2015 DEM/altimetry data. We implemented a Lagrangian elevation change (Dh/Dt) framework to estimate ice shelf basal melt rates at 32–256-m resolution. We describe this methodology and consider basal melt rates and elevation change over the PIG shelf and lower catchment from 2008–2015. We document the evolution of Eulerian elevation change (dh/dt) and upstream propagation of thinning signals following the end of rapid grounding line retreat around 2010. Mean full-shelf basal melt rates for the 2008–2015 period were ~82–93Gt/yr, with ~200–250m/yr basal melt rates within large channels near the grounding line, ~10–30m/yr over the main shelf, and ~0–10m/yr over the North and South shelves, with the notable exception of a small area with rates of ~50–100m/yr near the grounding line of a fast-flowing tributary on the South shelf. The observed basal melt rates show excellent agreement with, and provide context for, in situ basal melt rate observations. We also document the relative melt rates for km-scale basal channels and keels at different locations on the shelf and consider implications for ocean circulation and heat content. These methods and results offer new indirect observations of ice-ocean interaction and constraints on the processes driving sub-shelf melting beneath vulnerable ice shelves in West Antarctica.

David E. Shean et al.
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Short summary
We produced an 8-year, high-res DEM record for Pine Island Glacier (PIG) – a site of substantial Antarctic mass loss in recent decades. We developed methods that leverage this record to study the spatiotemporal evolution of ice shelf basal melting, which is responsible for ~ 60 % of PIG mass loss. We present shelf-wide basal melt rates and document relative melt rates for km-scale basal channels and keels, offering new indirect observations of ice-ocean interaction beneath a vulnerable ice shelf.
We produced an 8-year, high-res DEM record for Pine Island Glacier (PIG) – a site of substantial...
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