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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1817; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111817

Mass Balance of Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, Russian High Arctic, Using Time-Variable Gravity from GRACE and Altimetry Data from ICESat and CryoSat-2

1
Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
2
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
3
Universities Space Research Association/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 October 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Abstract

We examine the mass balance of the glaciers in the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, located in the Russian High Arctic using time series of time-variable gravity from the NASA/DLR Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, laser altimetry data from the NASA Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) mission, and radar altimetry data from the European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat-2 mission. We present a new algorithm for detecting changes in glacier elevation from these satellite altimetry data and evaluate its performance in the case of Novaya Zemlya by comparing the results with GRACE. We find that the mass loss of Novaya Zemlya glaciers increased from 10 ± 5 Gt/year over 2003–2009 to 14 ± 4 Gt/year over 2010–2016, with a brief period of near-zero mass balance between 2009 and 2011. The results are consistent across the gravimetric and altimetric methods. Furthermore, the analysis of elevation change from CryoSat-2 indicates that the mass loss occurs at elevation below 700 m, where the highest thinning rates are found. We also find that marine-terminating glaciers in Novaya Zemlya are thinning significantly faster than land-terminating glaciers, which indicates an important role of ice dynamics of marine-terminating glaciers. We posit that the glacier changes have been caused by changes in atmospheric and ocean temperatures. We find that the increase in mass loss after 2010 is associated with a warming in air temperatures, which increased the surface melt rates. There is not enough information on the ocean temperature at the front of the glaciers to conclude on the role of the ocean, but we posit that the temperature of subsurface ocean waters must have increased during the observation period. View Full-Text
Keywords: Novaya Zemlya; altimetry; gravity; Russian High Arctic; glaciers and ice caps; climate change; GRACE; ICESat; CryoSat-2 Novaya Zemlya; altimetry; gravity; Russian High Arctic; glaciers and ice caps; climate change; GRACE; ICESat; CryoSat-2
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ciracì, E.; Velicogna, I.; Sutterley, T.C. Mass Balance of Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, Russian High Arctic, Using Time-Variable Gravity from GRACE and Altimetry Data from ICESat and CryoSat-2. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1817.

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