Grounding line retreat and tide-modulated ocean channels at Moscow University and Totten Glacier ice shelves, East Antarctica

Tian Li*, Geoffrey J Dawson, Stephen J Chuter, Jonathan L Bamber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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The Totten and Moscow University glaciers, located in East Antarctica, contain 5.1 m sea-level equivalent of ice and have been losing mass over recent decades. Using ICESat-2 laser altimetry repeat track analysis and satellite radar interferometry from Sentinel-1a/b synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, we mapped the grounding line (GL) locations of these two glaciers between 2017 and 2021. By comparing the 2017–2021 GL measurements with historic GLs, we detected pervasive GL retreats along the ice plains at the glacier central trunk of Totten Glacier Ice Shelf (TGIS) and Moscow University Ice Shelf (MUIS). The GL retreated 3.51±0.49 km at TGIS, while it retreated 13.85±0.08 km at MUIS from 1996. Using CryoSat-2 radar altimetry, we found that the observed GL retreats are coincident with high thinning rates, in addition to high ice velocities, indicating a mass loss pattern dominated by ice dynamics. We also identified two tide-modulated ocean channels on Totten Glacier Eastern Ice Shelf (TGEIS) and Moscow University Western Ice Shelf (MUWIS), where the ocean channel widths are highly correlated with the differential tidal amplitudes. The opening of the MUWIS ocean channel connects the two previously separated TGIS and MUIS systems, which might open a pathway for the warm modified Circumpolar Deep Water to enter the main MUIS cavity and facilitate further GL retreat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1022
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been supported by the European Research Council, H2020 European Research Council (GlobalMass (grant no. 694188)), the European Space Agency (grant no. 4000133466/20/I/NB), and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (grant no. 01DD20001).This work was supported by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in the framework of the Open Access Publishing Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Tian Li et al.

Structured keywords

  • GlobalMass


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