Unveiling spatial variability within the Dotson Melt Channel through high-resolution basal melt rates from the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica

Ann-Sofie Priergaard Zinck*, Bert Wouters, Erwin Lambert, Stef Lhermitte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The intrusion of Circumpolar Deep Water in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Sea embayments of Antarctica causes ice shelves in the region to melt from below, potentially putting their stability at risk. Earlier studies have shown how digital elevation models can be used to obtain ice shelf basal melt rates at a high spatial resolution. However, there has been limited availability of high-resolution elevation data, a gap the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) has filled. In this study we use a novel combination of REMA and CryoSat-2 elevation data to obtain high-resolution basal melt rates of the Dotson Ice Shelf in a Lagrangian framework, at a 50 m spatial posting on a 3-yearly temporal resolution. We present a novel method: Basal melt rates Using REMA and Google Earth Engine (BURGEE). The high resolution of BURGEE is supported through a sensitivity study of the Lagrangian displacement. The high-resolution basal melt rates show a good agreement with an earlier basal melt product based on CryoSat-2. Both products show a wide melt channel extending from the grounding line to the ice front, but our high-resolution product indicates that the pathway and spatial variability of this channel is influenced by a pinning point on the ice shelf. This result emphasizes the importance of high-resolution basal melt rates to expand our understanding of channel formation and melt patterns. BURGEE can be expanded to a pan-Antarctic study of high-resolution basal melt rates. This will provide a better picture of the (in)stability of Antarctic ice shelves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3785–3801
Number of pages17
JournalThe Cryosphere
Volume17
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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