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Melting of ice shelves and the mass balance of Antarctica

Jacobs, S.S.; Helmer, H.H.; Doake, C.S.M.; Jenkins, A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9117-0616; Frolich, R.M.. 1992 Melting of ice shelves and the mass balance of Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 38 (130). 375-387. https://doi.org/10.3189/S0022143000002252

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Abstract/Summary

We calculate the present ice budget for Antarctica from measurements of accumulation minus iceberg calving, run-off and in situ melting beneath the floating ice shelves. The resulting negative mass balance of 469 Gt year−1 differs substantially from other recent estimates but some components are subject to high temporal variability and budget uncertainties of 20–50%. Annual accumulation from an earlier review is adjusted to include the Antarctic Peninsula for a total of 2144 Gt year−1. An iceberg production rate of 2016 Gt year−1 is obtained from the volume of large icebergs calculated from satellite images since 1978, and from the results of an international iceberg census project. Ice-shelf melting of 544 Gt year−1 is derived from physical and geochemical observations of meltwater outflow, glaciological field studies and modeling of the sub-ice ocean circulation. The highest melt rates occur near ice fronts and deep within sub-ice cavities. Run-off from the ice-sheet surface and from beneath the grounded ice is taken to be 53 Gt year−1. Less than half of the negative mass balance need come from the grounded ice to account for the unattributed 0.45 mm year−1 in the IPCC “best estimate” of the recent global sea-level rise.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.3189/S0022143000002252
ISSN: 0022-1430
Date made live: 07 Dec 2017 10:04 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/518605

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