A new, high resolution surface mass balance map of Antarctica (1979-2010) based on regional climate modeling

A new, high resolution (27 km) surface mass balance (SMB) map of the Antarctic ice sheet is presented, based on output of a regional atmospheric climate model that includes snowdrift physics and is forced by the most recent reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), ERA-Interim (1979–2010). The SMB map confirms high accumulation zones in the western Antarctic Peninsula (>1500 mm y!1) and coastal West Antarctica (>1000 mm y!1), and shows low SMB values in large parts of the interior ice sheet (<25 mm y!1). The location and extent of ablation areas are modeled realistically.The modeled SMB is in good agreement with "750 in-situ SMB measurements (R = 0.88), without a need for postcalibration. The average ice sheet-integrated SMB (including ice shelves) is estimated at 2418 " 181 Gt y!1. Snowfall shows modest interannual variability (s = 114 Gt y!1), but a pronounced seasonal cycle (s = 30 Gt mo!1), with a winter maximum. The main ablation process is drifting snow sublimation, which also peaks in winter but with little interannual variability (s = 9 Gt y!1).


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Authors: Lenaerts, J.T.M., van den Broeke, M.R, van de Berg, W.J., van Meijgaard, E., Kuipers Munneke, P.

1 January, 2012
Geophysical Research Letters / 39
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