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Temporal and spatial variability of the surface mass balance in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, as derived from automatic weather stations

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Measurements of changes in surface height carried out with sonic altimeters mounted on automatic weather stations in Dronning Maud Land (DML) and on Berkner Island, Antarctica, are used to derive the surface mass balance. The surface mass balance is positive at all sites, i.e.accumulation outweighs ablation. The spatial and temporal variability in accumulation is high. Accumulation occurs in numerous small events and a few large events per year. The larger events contribute more to the annual accumulation than the small events; 50% of all accumulation is contributed by 10-25% of all events. The accumulation generally decreases with increasing distance from the coast and elevation. Annual averaged values range from ~375 ± 59 mm w. e. a-1near the coast to ~33 ± 25 mm w. e. a -1on the Antarctic plateau and are in good agreement with long-term averaged annual accumulation rates obtained from snow pits and firn cores. The records show seasonal dependency of the amount of accumulation, with a maximum in winter in the coastal and escarpment region of DML and in summer on Berkner Island and on the plateau. The seasonal cycles are significant on Berkner Island, and in the coastal area and part of the escarpment region.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2003

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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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