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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  09 Jul 2020

09 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Bed topography of Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica

Xiangbin Cui1, Hafeez Jeofry2,3, Jamin S. Greenbaum4, Jingxue Guo1, Lin Li1, Laura E. Lindzey5, Feras A. Habbal6, Wei Wei4, Duncan A. Young4, Neil Ross7, Mathieu Morlighem8, Lenneke M. Jong9,10, Jason L. Roberts9,10, Donald D. Blankenship4, Sun Bo1, and Martin J. Siegert11 Xiangbin Cui et al.
  • 1Polar Research Institute of China, Jinqiao Road, Shanghai, China
  • 2Faculty of Science and Marine Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • 3Institute of Oceanography and Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • 4Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
  • 5Department of Ocean Engineering, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, USA
  • 6Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • 7School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  • 8Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, USA
  • 9Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia
  • 10Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania
  • 11Grantham Institute and Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, UK

Abstract. We present a topographic digital elevation model (DEM) for Princess Elizabeth Land (PEL), East Antarctica – the last remaining region in Antarctica to be surveyed by airborne radio-echo sounding (RES) techniques. The DEM covers an area of ~900,000 km2 and was established from new RES data collected by the ICECAP-2 consortium, led by the Polar Research Institute of China, from four campaigns since 2015. Previously, the region (along with Recovery basin elsewhere in East Antarctica) was characterised by an inversion using low resolution satellite gravity data across a large (>200 km wide) data-free zone to generate the Bedmap2 topographic product. We use the mass conservation (MC) method to produce an ice thickness grid across faster-flowing (>30 m yr-1) regions of the ice sheet and streamline diffusion in slower-flowing areas. The resulting ice thickness model is integrated with an ice surface model to build the bed DEM. With the revised bed DEM, we are able to model the flow of subglacial water and assess where the hydraulic pressure, and hydrological routing, is most sensitive to small ice-surface gradient changes. Together with BedMachine Antarctica, and Bedmap2, this new PEL bed DEM completes the first order measurement of subglacial continental Antarctica – an international mission that began around 70 years ago. The ice thickness and bed elevation DEMs of PEL (resolved horizontally at 500 m relative to ice surface elevations obtained from a combination of European Remote Sensing Satellite 1 radar (ERS-1) and Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser satellite altimetry datasets) are accessible from (Cui et 38al., 2020).

Xiangbin Cui et al.

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Xiangbin Cui et al.

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Short summary
We present a digital elevation map for the least explored region of Antarctica; Princess Elizabeth Land. We use ice-penetrating radar to measure the ice thickness, and subtracting this from the surface elevation of the ice sheet we can obtain values for the topography beneath the ice. The region itself is around the size of Scotland, and the data now fills what previously was the last major gap in our knowledge of the land surface of Earth – a process of discovery going back over 200 years.
We present a digital elevation map for the least explored region of Antarctica; Princess Elizabeth...