From ice core to ground-penetrating radar: representativeness of SMB at three ice rises along the Princess Ragnhild Coast, East Antarctica

Marie G.P. Cavitte, Hugues Goosse, Sarah Wauthy, Thore Kausch, Jean Louis Tison, Brice Van Liefferinge, Frank Pattyn, Jan T.M. Lenaerts, Philippe Claeys

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The future contributions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to sea level rise will depend on the evolution of its surface mass balance (SMB), which could amplify/dampen mass losses increasingly observed at the ice sheet's edge. In situ constraints of SMB over annual-to-decadal timescales consist mostly of firn/ice cores that have a surface footprint $\sim$cm$^{2}$. SMB constraints also come from climate models, which have a higher temporal resolution but a larger surface footprint of several km$^{2}$. We use ice-penetrating radar data to obtain an intermediate spatial and temporal resolution SMB record over three ice rises along the Princess Ragnhild Coast. The co-located ice cores allow us to obtain absolute radar-derived SMB rates at a multi-annual-to-decadal temporal resolution. By comparing the ice core SMB measurements and the radar-derived SMB records, we determine that pointwise measurements of SMB are representative of a small surface area, $\sim 200-500$ m radius extending from the ice core drill site for the ice rises studied here, and that the pointwise measurements are systematically 7–15 cm w.e. a$^{-1}$ lower than the mean SMB value calculated for the whole ice rises. However, ice core records are representative of an entire ice rise's temporal variability at the temporal resolution examined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2022.39
Pages (from-to)1221-1233
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number272
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Brooke Medley for her code implementation of the Herron–Langway model. This work was supported by the Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks (BRAIN-be) from the Belgian Science Policy Office in the framework of the project ‘East Antarctic surface mass balance in the Anthropocene: observations and multi-scale modelling (Mass2Ant)’ (contract no. BR/165/A2/Mass2Ant). Philippe Claeys thanks VUB strategic Research. Hugues Goosse is the research director within the F.R.S.-FNRS. Jan T. M. Lenaerts acknowledges support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), grant 80NSSC18K0201. Marie Cavitte is a Postdoctoral Researcher of the F.R.S-FNRS, Sarah Wauthy is a Research Fellow of the F.R.S.-FNRS. This research contributes to the AntArchitecture action group of SCAR.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.

Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Accumulation
  • Antarctic glaciology
  • ground-penetrating radar
  • ice core
  • ice rise


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