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Spatial patterns in mass balance of the Siple Coast and Amundsen Sea sectors, West Antarctica

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Local rates of change in ice-sheet thickness were calculated at 15 sites in West Antarctica using the submergence velocity technique. This method entails a comparison of the vertical velocity of the ice sheet, measured using repeat global positioning system surveys of markers, and local long-term rates of snow accumulation obtained using firn-core stratigraphy. Any significant difference between these two quantities represents a thickness change with time. Measurements were conducted at sites located ∼100–200 km apart along US ITASE traverse routes, and at several isolated locations. All but one of the sites are distributed in the Siple Coast and the Amundsen Sea basin along contours of constant elevation, along flowlines, across ice divides and close to regions of enhanced flow. Calculated rates of thickness change are different from site to site. Most of the large rates of change in ice thickness (∼10 cm a−1 or larger) are observed in or close to regions of rapid flow, and are probably related to ice-dynamics effects. Near-steady-state conditions are calculated mostly at sites in the slow-moving ice-sheet interior and near the main West Antarctic ice divide. These results are consistent with regional estimates of ice-sheet change derived from remote-sensing measurements at similar locations in West Antarctica.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-06-01

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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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