Widespread increase in dynamic imbalance in the Getz region of Antarctica from 1994 to 2018

Heather L. Selley*, Anna E. Hogg, Stephen Cornford, Pierre Dutrieux, Andrew Shepherd, Jan Wuite, Dana Floricioiu, Anders Kusk, Thomas Nagler, Lin Gilbert, Thomas Slater, Tae Wan Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The Getz region of West Antarctica is losing ice at an increasing rate; however, the forcing mechanisms remain unclear. Here we use satellite observations and an ice sheet model to measure the change in ice speed and mass balance of the drainage basin over the last 25-years. Our results show a mean increase in speed of 23.8 % between 1994 and 2018, with three glaciers accelerating by over 44 %. Speedup across the Getz basin is linear, with speedup and thinning directly correlated confirming the presence of dynamic imbalance. Since 1994, 315 Gt of ice has been lost contributing 0.9 ± 0.6 mm global mean sea level, with increased loss since 2010 caused by a snowfall reduction. Overall, dynamic imbalance accounts for two thirds of the mass loss from this region of West Antarctica over the past 25-years, with a longer-term response to ocean forcing the likely driving mechanism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1133
    JournalNature Communications
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was led by the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, with support from the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM300001). The authors gratefully acknowledge the ESA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency for the acquisition of ERS-1 and -2 (C1P9925), Sentinel-1, Landsat-8, ALOS PALSAR and RADARSAT data, respectively. We acknowledge the use of datasets produced through the ESA Antarctic Ice Sheet Climate Change Initiative (AIS_CCI) project and the NASA Measures programme for funding the development of long-term climate data records from satellite observations. Anna E. Hogg was supported by the NERC DeCAdeS project (NE/T012757/1) and ESA Polar+ Ice Shelves project (ESA-IPL-POE-EF-cb-LE-2019-834). Pierre Dutrieux was supported by NSF awards 1643285, 1644159, and a Columbia University Climate and Life Fellowship. Tae-Wan Kim from the Korea Polar Research Institute, grant KOPRI PE20160.

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