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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-2018-258
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-258
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Dec 2018

Research article | 12 Dec 2018

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

Heterogeneous spatial and temporal pattern of surface elevation change and mass balance of the Patagonian icefields between 2000 and 2016

Wael Abdel Jaber1, Helmut Rott2,3, Dana Floricioiu1, Jan Wuite2, and Nuno Miranda4 Wael Abdel Jaber et al.
  • 1Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2ENVEO IT GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Institute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 4European Space Agency (ESA) – ESRIN, Frascati, Italy

Abstract. The Northern and Southern Patagonian icefields (NPI and SPI) have been subject to accelerated retreat during the last decades with considerable variability in magnitude and timing among individual glaciers. We derive spatially detailed maps of surface elevation change (SEC) of NPI and SPI from bistatic SAR interferometry data of SRTM and TanDEM-X for two epochs, 2000–2012 and 2012–2016 and provide data on changes in surface elevation and ice volume for the individual glaciers and for the icefields at large. We apply advanced TanDEM-X processing techniques allowing to cover 90% and 95% of the area of NPI and 97% and 98% of the area of SPI for the two epochs, respectively. Particular attention is paid to precisely coregistering the DEMs, assessing and accounting for possible effects of radar signal penetration through backscatter analysis, and correcting for seasonality biases in case of deviations in repeat DEM coverage from full annual time spans. The results show a different temporal trend between the two icefields and reveal a heterogeneous spatial pattern of SEC and mass balance caused by different sensitivities in respect to direct climatic forcing and ice flow dynamics of individual glaciers. The estimated volume change rates for NPI are −4.26±0.20km3a−1 for epoch 1 and −5.60±0.71km3a−1 for epoch 2, while for SPI these are −14.87±0.51km3a−1 for epoch 1 and −11.86±1.90km3a−1 for epoch 2. This amounts to 0.047±0.005mma−1 eustatic sea level rise for both icefields during the epoch 2000–2016. On SPI the spatial pattern of surface elevation change is more complex than on NPI and the temporal trend is less uniform. On terminus sections of the main calving glaciers of SPI temporal variations of flow velocities are a main factor for differences in SEC between the two epochs. Striking differences are observed even on adjoining glaciers, such as Upsala Glacier with decreasing mass losses associated with slowdown of flow velocity between the two epochs, contrasting with acceleration and increase of mass losses on Viedma Glacier.

Wael Abdel Jaber et al.
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Wael Abdel Jaber et al.
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Short summary
We use topographic maps from two radar remote sensing missions to map surface elevation changes of the Northern and Southern Patagonian icefields (NPI and SPI) for two epochs (2000–2012 and 2012–2016). We find a heterogeneous pattern of thinning within the icefields and a varying temporal trend which may be explained by complex interdependencies between surface mass balance and effects of flow dynamics. The contribution to sea level rise amounts to 0.05 mm/a for both icefields for 2000–2016.
We use topographic maps from two radar remote sensing missions to map surface elevation changes...
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