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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Regional acceleration in ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica using GRACE time-variable gravity data

  • Author(s): Velicogna, I
  • Sutterley, TC
  • Van Den Broeke, MR
  • et al.

© 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. We use Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) monthly gravity fields to determine the regional acceleration in ice mass loss in Greenland and Antarctica for 2003-2013. We find that the total mass loss is controlled by only a few regions. In Greenland, the southeast and northwest generate 70% of the loss (280±58 Gt/yr) mostly from ice dynamics, the southwest accounts for 54% of the total acceleration in loss (25.4±1.2 Gt/yr2) from a decrease in surface mass balance (SMB), followed by the northwest (34%), and we find no significant acceleration in the northeast. In Antarctica, the Amundsen Sea (AS) sector and the Antarctic Peninsula account for 64% and 17%, respectively, of the total loss (180±10 Gt/yr) mainly from ice dynamics. The AS sector contributes most of the acceleration in loss (11±4 Gt/yr2), and Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica, is the only sector with a significant mass gain due to a local increase in SMB (63±5 Gt/yr).

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