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Glacier changes in Alaska: can mass-balance models explain GRACE mascon trends?

  • Anthony A. Arendt (a1), Scott B. Luthcke (a2) and Regine Hock (a1) (a3)

Abstract

Temperature and precipitation data from three weather stations in the St Elias Mountains of Alaska and northwestern Canada were used to drive one-dimensional (1-D) (elevation-dependent) and 0-D degree-day mass-balance models. Model outputs were optimized against a 10 day resolution time series of mass variability during 2003–07 obtained from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mass concentration (mascon) solutions. The models explained 52–60% of the variance in the GRACE time series. Modelled mass variations matched the phase of the GRACE observations, and all optimized model parameters were within the range of values determined from conventional mass-balance and meteorological observations. We describe a framework for selecting appropriate weather stations and mass-balance models to represent glacier variations of large regions. There is potential for extending these calibrated mass-balance models forwards or backwards in time to construct mass-balance time series outside of the GRACE measurement window.

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References

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