GlobalMass team members Stephen Chuter and Jonathan Bamber, along with Alba Martín-Español and Bert Wouters, have had a new paper (‘Mass Balance Reassessment of Glaciers Draining into the Abbot and Getz Ice Shelves of West Antarctica‘) accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters.
Previously, there have been large differences in mass balance estimates (the net loss or gain of ice mass) obtained from different techniques for glaciers draining into the Abbot and Getz Ice Shelves of West Antarctica. This is believed to be primarily due to uncertainties in the knowledge of ice thickness in these regions at the grounding line (the point where the ice sheet detaches from the bedrock and begins to float).
This new work, part of Stephen’s PhD, uses new higher accuracy ice thickness measurements derived from ESA’s CryoSat-2 satellite to reassess the mass balance for these regions for the 2006-2008 period. The results provide better agreement with other techniques and resolve outstanding discrepancies over the Abbot region in particular. The authors also find that grounding line retreat, a key indicator of ice sheet imbalance, has likely to have been occurring over the Getz region since this period. Their results demonstrate the ability for the satellite to more accurately calculate the mass loss from these regions and better constrain their subsequent contribution to sea level rise.