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AGU: Geophysical Research Letters



  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • GPS
  • Glacial Isostatic Adjustment

Index Terms

  • 0726 - Ice sheets
  • 0798 - Modeling
  • 1219 - Gravity anomalies and Earth structure
  • 1223 - Ocean/Earth/atmosphere/hydrosphere/cryosphere interactions
  • 9310 - Antarctica

Paper in Press


Increased ice loading in the Antarctic Peninsula since the 1850s and its effect on Glacial Isostatic Adjustment

Key Points
  • Accumulation increase results in up to 45 m extra ice thickness over 155 years
  • Model predicts GIA-related subsidence of up to 7 mm/yr which will affect GPS
  • GRACE-derived rates of ice-mass change are biased low by ignoring this signal


Grace A. Alexandra Nield

Pippa L. L Whitehouse

Matt A. A King

Peter J. J Clarke

Michael J. J Bentley

Antarctic Peninsula (AP) ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855, and any resultant ice mass increase has the potential to contribute substantially to present-day Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA). We derive empirical orthogonal functions from climate model output to infer typical spatial patterns of accumulation over the AP and, by combining with ice core records, estimate annual accumulation for the period 1855-2010. In response to this accumulation history, high resolution ice-sheet modeling predicts ice thickness increases of up to 45 m, with the greatest thickening in the northern and western AP. Whilst this thickening is predicted to affect GRACE estimates by no more than 6.2 Gt/yr, it may contribute up to -7 mm/yr to the present-day GIA uplift rate, depending on the chosen Earth model, with a strong east-west gradient across the AP. Its consideration is therefore critical to the interpretation of observed GPS velocities in the AP.

Received 29 May 2012; accepted 10 August 2012.

Citation: Nield, G. A. A., P. L. L. Whitehouse, M. A. A. King, P. J. J. Clarke, and M. J. J. Bentley (2012), Increased ice loading in the Antarctic Peninsula since the 1850s and its effect on Glacial Isostatic Adjustment, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052559, in press.