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Investigating the potential to determine the upstream accumulation rate, using mass-flux calculations along a cross-section on a small tributary glacier in Heimefrontfjella, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

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How well can we estimate the incoming ice flux by calculating the ice flux through a well-defined cross-section? We test this by comparing calculated ice flux out from the small glacier Bonnevie-Svendsenbreen with the measured accumulation rate integrated over the well-defined catchment area in the Sivorgfjella plateau, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica (74°45′S, 11°10′W). The ice flux is calculated using ice-dynamical properties from an ice temperature model and the distribution of forces calculated using a force-budget model. The input we use includes velocity data of the glacier surface, combined with ice-thickness measurements. The result is an accumulation rate on the Sivorgfjella plateau of 0.50 ± 0.05 m w.e.a−1. We find that this is similar to the accumulation rate recorded by ground-penetrating radar work in the area. We therefore find the balance-flow method, in combination with the force-budget technique and ice temperature modeling, to be a useful tool for studies of mass fluxes in a catchment area. The most important source of uncertainty in these calculations is the quality and the spatial distribution of the ice surface velocity data. The high accumulation rate shows the effect of orographic enhancement on accumulation in montane areas in Antarctica.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • 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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