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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(8), 909;

The Rapid and Steady Mass Loss of the Patagonian Icefields throughout the GRACE Era: 2002–2017

Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Planetare Geodäsie, 01062 Dresden, Germany
Laboratorio MAGGIA, Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata B1900FWA, Argentina
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas CONICET, La Plata B1904CMC, Argentina
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Estación Astronómica Río Grande, Río Grande V9420EAR, Argentina
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 14 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing by Satellite Gravimetry)
PDF [6037 KB, uploaded 14 April 2019]


We use the complete gravity recovery and climate experiment (GRACE) Level-2 monthly time series to derive the ice mass changes of the Patagonian Icefields (Southern Andes). The glacial isostatic adjustment is accounted for by a regional model that is constrained by global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) uplift observations. Further corrections are applied concerning the effect of mass variations in the ocean, in the continental water storage, and of the Antarctic ice sheet. The 161 monthly GRACE gravity field solutions are inverted in the spatial domain through the adjustment of scaling factors applied to a-priori ice mass change patterns based on published remote sensing results for the Southern and Northern Patagonian Icefields, respectively. We infer an ice mass change rate of −24.4 ± 4.7 Gt/a for the Patagonian Icefields between April 2002 and June 2017, which corresponds to a contribution to the eustatic sea level rise of 0.067 ± 0.013 mm/a. Our time series of monthly ice mass changes reveals no indication for an acceleration in ice mass loss. We find indications that the Northern Patagonian Icefield contributes more to the integral ice loss than previously assumed. View Full-Text
Keywords: ice mass; satellite gravimetry; Patagonia; GRACE ice mass; satellite gravimetry; Patagonia; GRACE

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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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Richter, A.; Groh, A.; Horwath, M.; Ivins, E.; Marderwald, E.; Hormaechea, J.L.; Perdomo, R.; Dietrich, R. The Rapid and Steady Mass Loss of the Patagonian Icefields throughout the GRACE Era: 2002–2017. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 909.

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