Seasonal land-ice-flow variability in the Antarctic Peninsula

Change log

jats:pAbstract. Recent satellite-remote sensing studies have documented the multi-decadal acceleration of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to rapid rates of ice-sheet retreat and thinning. Unlike the Greenland Ice Sheet, where historical, high-temporal-resolution satellite and in situ observations have revealed distinct changes in land-ice flow within intra-annual timescales, observations of similar seasonal signals are limited in Antarctica. Here, we use high-spatial- and high-temporal-resolution Copernicus Sentinel-1A/B synthetic aperture radar observations acquired between 2014 and 2020 to provide the first evidence for seasonal flow variability of the land ice feeding George VI Ice Shelf (GVIIS), Antarctic Peninsula. Our observations reveal a distinct austral summertime (December–February) speed-up of ∼0.06±0.005 m d−1 (∼ 22±1.8 m yr−1) at, and immediately inland of, the grounding line of the glaciers nourishing the ice shelf, which constitutes a mean acceleration of ∼15 % relative to baseline (time-series-averaged) rates of flow. These findings are corroborated by independent, optically derived velocity observations obtained from Landsat 8 imagery. Both surface and oceanic forcing mechanisms are outlined as potential controls on this seasonality. Ultimately, our findings imply that similar surface and/or ocean forcing mechanisms may be driving seasonal accelerations at the grounding lines of other vulnerable outlet glaciers around Antarctica. Assessing the degree of seasonal ice-flow variability at such locations is important for quantifying accurately Antarctica's future contribution to global sea-level rise. </jats:p>

37 Earth Sciences, 3708 Oceanography, 3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 13 Climate Action
Journal Title
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Copernicus GmbH
NERC (NE/S007164/1)
NERC (NE/T006234/1)
Prince Albert II Foundation (3095)
NERC (NE/S007164/1)
NERC (2429794)
Is supplemented by: