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Mass balance of the Lambert Glacier–Amery Ice Shelf system, East Antarctica: a comparison of computed balance fluxes and measured fluxes

  • Helen A. Fricker (a1), Roland C. Warner (a2) and Ian Allison (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

We combine European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS-1) radar altimeter surface elevations (Fricker and others, 2000) with six different accumulation distributions to compute balance fluxes for the Lambert Glacier–Amery Ice Shelf drainage system. These interpolated balance fluxes are compared with fluxes derived from in situ measurements of ice thickness and velocity at 73 stations of the Lambert Glacier basin traverse and at 11 stations further downstream, to assess the system’s state of balance. For the upstream line we obtain a range of imbalance estimates, from −23.8% to +19.9% of the observed flux, reflecting the sensitivity to the accumulation distributions. For some of the accumulation distributions the imbalance estimates vary significantly between different parts of the line. Imbalance estimates for the downstream line range from −17.7% to +70.2%, with four of the estimates exceeding +30%, again reflecting the sensitivity of the result to input accumulation, and strongly suggesting that the mass balance of the region between the two lines is positive. Our results confirm the importance of accurate estimates of accumulation in ice-sheet mass-balance studies. Furthermore, they suggest that it is not possible to accurately determine the state of balance of large Antarctic drainage basins on the basis of currently available accumulation distributions.

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References
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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
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