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Application of a two-step approach for mapping ice thickness to various glacier types on Svalbard
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute of Geography.
University of Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement (IGE).
University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute.
University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute.
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2017 (English)In: The Cryosphere, ISSN 1994-0416, E-ISSN 1994-0424, Vol. 11, no 5, p. 2003-2032Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The basal topography is largely unknown beneath most glaciers and ice caps, and many attempts have been made to estimate a thickness field from other more accessible information at the surface. Here, we present a two-step reconstruction approach for ice thickness that solves mass conservation over single or several connected drainage basins. The approach is applied to a variety of test geometries with abundant thickness measurements including marine-and landterminating glaciers as well as a 2400 km(2) ice cap on Svalbard. The input requirements are kept to a minimum for the first step. In this step, a geometrically controlled, non-local flux solution is converted into thickness values relying on the shallow ice approximation (SIA). In a second step, the thickness field is updated along fast-flowing glacier trunks on the basis of velocity observations. Both steps account for available thickness measurements. Each thickness field is presented together with an error-estimate map based on a formal propagation of input uncertainties. These error estimates point out that the thickness field is least constrained near ice divides or in other stagnant areas. Withholding a share of the thickness measurements, error estimates tend to overestimate mismatch values in a median sense. We also have to accept an aggregate uncertainty of at least 25% in the reconstructed thickness field for glaciers with very sparse or no observations. For Vestfonna ice cap (VIC), a previous ice volume estimate based on the same measurement record as used here has to be corrected upward by 22 %. We also find that a 13% area fraction of the ice cap is in fact grounded below sea level. The former 5% estimate from a direct measurement interpolation exceeds an aggregate maximum range of 6-23% as inferred from the error estimates here.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 11, no 5, p. 2003-2032
National Category
Geology Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334921DOI: 10.5194/tc-11-2003-2017ISI: 000409059700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-334921DiVA, id: diva2:1161252
Funder
German Research Foundation (DFG), FU1032/1-1; 1158; BR2105/9-1EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 226375EU, European Research Council, 320816Available from: 2017-11-29 Created: 2017-11-29 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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