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Rapid glacier retreat rates observed in West Antarctica

Milillo, Pietro and Rignot, Eric and Rizzoli, Paola and Scheuchl, Bernd and Mouginot, Jeremie and Bueso Bello, Jose Luis and Prats, Pau and Dini, Luigi (2022) Rapid glacier retreat rates observed in West Antarctica. Nature Geoscience. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s41561-021-00877-z. ISSN 1752-0894.

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The Pope, Smith and Kohler glaciers, in the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica, have experienced enhanced ocean-induced ice-shelf melt, glacier acceleration, ice thinning and grounding-line retreat in the past 30 years. Here we present observations of the grounding-line retreat of these glaciers since 2014 using a constellation of interferometric radar satellites combined with precision surface elevation data. We find that the grounding lines develop spatially variable, kilometre-scale, tidally induced migration zones. After correction for tidal effects, we detect a sustained pattern of retreat coincident with high melt rates of ungrounded ice, marked by episodes of more rapid retreat. In 2017, Pope Glacier retreated 3.5 km in 3.6 months, or 11.7 km yr–1. In 2016–2018, Smith West retreated at 2 km yr–1 and Kohler at 1.3 km yr–1. While the retreat slowed in 2018–2020, these retreat rates are faster than anticipated by numerical models on yearly timescales. We hypothesize that the rapid retreat is caused by unrepresented, vigorous ice–ocean interactions acting within newly formed cavities at the ice–ocean boundary.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/148577/
Document Type:Article
Title:Rapid glacier retreat rates observed in West Antarctica
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Milillo, Pietropieto.milillo (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Rignot, Ericeric.rignot (at) jpl.nasa.govUNSPECIFIED
Rizzoli, PaolaPaola.Rizzoli (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-9118-2732
Scheuchl, Berndbscheuch (at) uci.eduUNSPECIFIED
Mouginot, Jeremiejeremie.mouginot (at) univ-grenoble-alpes.frUNSPECIFIED
Bueso Bello, Jose LuisJose-Luis.Bueso-Bello (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3464-2186
Prats, PauPau.Prats (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-7583-2309
Date:January 2022
Journal or Publication Title:Nature Geoscience
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Keywords:Antarctica glaciers, TanDEM-X, SAR, DEM
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Support TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X operations
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Microwaves and Radar Institute
Microwaves and Radar Institute > Spaceborne SAR Systems
Deposited By: Rizzoli, Paola
Deposited On:02 Feb 2022 11:47
Last Modified:02 Feb 2022 11:47

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