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Comparison between computed balance velocities and GPS measurements in the Lambert Glacier basin, East Antarctica

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Comparisons between computed balance velocities, obtained from two different computing schemes, and global positioning system (GPS)-derived velocities were made in the Lambert Glacier basin region, East Antarctica. The two computing schemes used for the balance-velocity computations (a flowline (FL) scheme (Rémy and Minster, 1993) and a finite-difference (BW) scheme (Budd and Warner, 1996; Fricker and others, 2000)) were first evaluated and compared. One of the key issues studied was the spatial resolution of the digital elevation model (DEM), representing the surface topography of the ice sheet, and the sensitivity of the balance velocities to the length of smoothing applied to the DEM. Comparison with the GPS velocities validated the two schemes to within 5-25% but showed the high sensitivity of the flowline method to the length scale of the smoothing. The finite-difference scheme was found to be robust to the chosen smoothing scale, but the balance-velocity values increased when a finer-resolution DEM was used. Both FL and BW computing schemes tended to overestimate the balance velocities in comparison with the GPS values; some of this discrepancy can be attributed to ice-sheet sliding.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2003

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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