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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

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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 ofthe 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 ofthe region between the two lines is positive. Our results confirm the importance ofaccurate estimates ofaccumulation 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.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2000

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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