Changing Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves


Figure. (a) Ice draft from CryoSat-2 RA at 2 km resolution (see the supporting information). Mean values of (b) height-change rates (dh/dt), (c) basal melt rates (wb), and (d) net mass balance for the period 1994–2016 over Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves. Stippling indicates locations of grid cells with rates above the 67% confidence interval.


A new peer-reviewed study published on May 5, 2018 in Geophysical Research Letters reports on 23 years of changes in the height and mass of floating ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula. The study was led by Susheel Adusumilli, a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego CA.  Laurie Padman of ESR was a co-author of this paper.


The authors combined data from four European Space Agency satellite radar altimeter missions and laser altimetry from NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge to show that recent increases in surface height have reversed much of the previously reported declines, although the ice shelves continue to lose mass. This apparent paradox arises because mass is lost as fairly dense, solid ice from the bottom of the ice shelf, but gains occur from accumulation of low density snow. The authors also show the dependence of changes in ice shelf height and mass on changing weather patterns.


The full paper is available at