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Multi-decadal glacier surface lowering in the Antarctic Peninsula


Kunz, M and King, MA and Mills, JP and Miller, PE and Fox, AJ and Vaughan, DG and Marsh, SH, Multi-decadal glacier surface lowering in the Antarctic Peninsula, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, (19) Article L19502. ISSN 0094-8276 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1029/2012GL052823


From approximately 400 glaciers of the western Antarctic Peninsula, no in situ records of mass balance exist and their recent contribution to sea level is consequently poorly constrained. We seek to address this shortcoming by using surface elevations from USGS and BAS airborne (1948-2005) and ASTER spaceborne (2001-2010) stereo imagery, combined by using a rigorous semi-automated registration approach, to determine multi-decadal glacier surface elevation changes in the western Antarctic Peninsula for 12 glaciers. All observed glaciers show near-frontal surface lowering and an annual mean lowering rate of 0.28 +- 0.03 m/yr at the lower portion of the glaciers during the ~4 decades following the mid-1960s, with higher rates for the glaciers in the north-west parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Increased lowering of up to 0.6 m/yr can be observed since the 1990s, in close correspondence to increased atmospheric positive degree days. In all cases, surface lowering reduces to zero within 5 km of the glacier front at around 400 m altitude. This lowering may have been at least partially compensated for by increased high-altitude accumulation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctica; sea level; ice sheets
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geophysics
Research Field:Geodesy
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:King, MA (Professor Matt King)
ID Code:89650
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2014-03-11
Last Modified:2022-08-31

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