Measuring the location and width of the Antarctic grounding zone using CryoSat-2

Geoffrey J Dawson*, Jonathan L Bamber

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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We present the results of mapping the limit of the tidal flexure (point F) and hydrostatic equilibrium (point H) of the grounding zone of Antarctic ice shelves from CryoSat-2 standard and swath elevation data. Overall we were able to map 31 % of the grounding zone of the Antarctic floating ice shelves and outlet glaciers. We obtain near-complete coverage of the Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf. Here we manage to map areas of Support Force Glacier and the Doake Ice Rumples, which have previously only been mapped using break-in-slope methods. Over the Ross Ice Shelf, Dronning Maud Land and the Antarctic Peninsula, we obtained partial coverage, and we could not map a continuous grounding zone for the Amery Ice Shelf and the Amundsen Sea sector. Tidal amplitude and distance south (i.e. across-track spacing) are controlling factors in the quality of the coverage and performance of the approach. The location of the point F agrees well with previous observations that used differential satellite radar interferometry (DInSAR) and ICESat-1, with an average landward bias of 0.1 and 0.6 km and standard deviation of 1.1 and 1.5 km for DInSAR and ICESat measurements, respectively. We also compared the results directly with DInSAR interferograms from the Sentinel-1 satellites, acquired over the Evans Ice Stream and the Carlson Inlet (Ronne Ice Shelf), and found good agreement with the mapped points F and H. We also present the results of the spatial distribution of the grounding zone width (the distance between points F and H) and used a simple elastic beam model, along with ice thickness calculations, to calculate an effective Young modulus of ice of E=1.4±0.9 GPa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2071-2086
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2020


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