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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11020144

High-Resolution Mass Trends of the Antarctic Ice Sheet through a Spectral Combination of Satellite Gravimetry and Radar Altimetry Observations

1
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
2
Deutscher Wetterdienst, 63067 Offenbach, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing by Satellite Gravimetry)
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Abstract

Time-variable gravity measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE-Follow On (GRACE-FO) missions and satellite altimetry measurements from CryoSat-2 enable independent mass balance estimates of the Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets. Both approaches vary in terms of their retrieval principles and signal-to-noise characteristics. GRACE/GRACE-FO recovers the gravity disturbance caused by changes in the mass of the entire ice sheet with a spatial resolution of 300 to 400 km. In contrast, CryoSat-2measures travel times of a radar signal reflected close to the ice sheet surface, allowing changes of the surface topography to be determined with about 5 km spatial resolution. Here, we present a method to combine observations from the both sensors, taking into account the different signal and noise characteristics of each satellite observation that are dependent on the spatial wavelength. We include uncertainties introduced by the processing and corrections, such as the choice of the re-tracking algorithm and the snow/ice volume density model for CryoSat-2, or the filtering of correlated errors and the correction for glacial-isostatic adjustment (GIA) for GRACE. We apply our method to the Antarctic ice sheet and the time period 2011–2017, in which GRACE and CryoSat-2 were simultaneously operational, obtaining a total ice mass loss of 178 ± 23 Gt yr−1. We present a map of the rate of mass change with a spatial resolution of 40 km that is evaluable across all spatial scales, and more precise than estimates based on a single satellite mission. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mass balance; Ice Sheets; Sea-level Rise; Antarctica; GRACE; CryoSat-2; GRACE-Follow On; GRACE-FO; downward continuation; spectral methods Mass balance; Ice Sheets; Sea-level Rise; Antarctica; GRACE; CryoSat-2; GRACE-Follow On; GRACE-FO; downward continuation; spectral methods
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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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Sasgen, I.; Konrad, H.; Helm, V.; Grosfeld, K. High-Resolution Mass Trends of the Antarctic Ice Sheet through a Spectral Combination of Satellite Gravimetry and Radar Altimetry Observations. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 144.

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