Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-287
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-287

  21 Oct 2021

21 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Elevation Change of the Antarctic Ice Sheet: 1985 to 2020

Johan Nilsson, Alex Gardner, and Fernando Paolo Johan Nilsson et al.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 91109, United States

Abstract. The largest uncertainty in future projections of sea level change comes from the uncertain response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to the warming oceans and atmosphere. The ice sheet gains roughly 2000 km3 of ice from precipitation each year and losses a similar amount through solid ice discharge into the surrounding oceans. Numerous studies have shown that the ice sheet is currently out of long-term equilibrium, losing mass at an accelerated rate and increasing sea levels rise. Projections of sea-level change rely on accurate estimates of the contribution of land ice to the contemporary sea level budget. The longest observational record available to study the mass balance of the Earth’s ice sheets comes from satellite altimeters. This record, however, consists of multiple satellite missions with different life-spans, inconsistent measurement types (radar and laser) and of varying quality. To fully utilize these data, measurements from different missions must be cross-calibrated and integrated into a consistent record of change. Here, we present a novel approach for generating such a record. We describe in detail the advanced geophysical corrections applied and the processes needed to derive elevation change estimates. We processed the full archive record of satellite altimetry data, providing a seamless record of elevation change for the Antarctic Ice Sheet that spans the period 1985 to 2020. The data are produced and distributed as part of the NASA MEaSUREs ITS_LIVE project (Nilsson et al., 2021).

Johan Nilsson et al.

Status: open (until 20 Dec 2021)

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Johan Nilsson et al.

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Elevation Change of the Antarctic Ice Sheet: 1985 to 2020 Johan Nilsson, Alex Gardner and Fernando Paolo https://its-live.jpl.nasa.gov/

Johan Nilsson et al.

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Short summary
The longest observational record available to study the mass balance of the Earth’s ice sheets comes from satellite altimeters. This record consists of multiple satellite missions with different measurements and quality, and must be cross-calibrated and integrated into a consistent record for scientific use. Here, we present a novel approach for generating such a record providing a seamless record of elevation change for the Antarctic Ice Sheet that spans the period 1985 to 2020.