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Spatial distribution of net surface accumulation on the Antarctic ice sheet

  • M. B. Glovinetto (a1) and H. J. Zwally (a2)

An isopleth map showing the spatial distribution of net mass accumulation at the surface on the Antarctic ice sheet, excluding Graham Land, the Larsen Ice Shelf and eastern Palmer Land, is produced based on field data from approximately 2000 sites. A database of accumulation values for 5365 gridpoint locations with 50 km spacing is interpolated from the isopleth map, giving a bulk accumulation of 2151 Gt a–1 and a mean of 159 kg m–2 a–1 for an area of 13.53 × 106 km2. Following the implementation of deflation and ablation adjustments applicable to sectors of the coastal zone, the accumulation values are reduced to 2020 Gt a–1 and 149 kg m–2 a–1. The new accumulation distribution is compared with another recent distribution, which was based on essentially the same field data using different analysis and interpolation criteria. Differences between the distributions are assessed using residuals for the 50 km gridpoint locations and by comparing average accumulation values for 24 drainage systems. The assessment based on residuals indicates that the two distributions show patterns of accumulation that are coherent at the continental scale, a shared attribute underscored by a small mean residual value of 6 kg m–2 a–1 (a difference of <4%). However, the regional assessment based on average accumulation values for the drainage systems shows differences that are larger than the assessment error (>22%) for six systems that collectively comprise approximately 4/10 of the ice-sheet area and 3/10 of the accumulation.

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
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