Related Research Areas
Earth Surface & Interior

Emerging evidence from published studies and unpublished ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data show that local surface slope and wind speed variations modify regional surface mass balance patterns on the ice sheets, redistributing snow locally onto windward slopes, and removing it from the leeward sides of the undulation field (Arcone et al. 2005). Although these relationships have been suspected for some time (e.g. Black and Budd, 1964), a lack of accurate digital elevation model (DEM) information at the required scale (500 m true horizontal resolution, <1 m vertical accuracy) and spatially extensive accumulation rate measurements have hampered the ability of investigators to map the variations, or derive empirical relationships for regional mapping of surface mass balance variations. Combining imaging sensors such as MODIS with Cryosat-2 and ICESat altimetry can augment DEMs via photoclinometry. Together the data sets can provide improved-resolution, spatially continuous elevations, and detailed slope maps at the required scales (Scambos and Haran, 2002; Scambos et al., 2007). Using GPR data from the recently completed Norway-US Traverse, the US-ITASE traverses, and local studies of megadune regions (Fahnestock et al., 2002) in combination with image-enhanced DEMs we will establish relationships in both East and West Antarctica between the slope field, wind direction and speed, and accumulation. We will investigate the regional relationship between radar-wavelength backscatter, slope field, and accumulation; and compare this with compilations of accumulation data. The proposed study has the promise of refining the total net surface accumulation for Antarctica, which is the largest uncertainty in the overall mass balance. At least part of this relationship has been demonstrated for the extreme case of "wind glaze" mapping in East Antarctica (Scambos et al., 2006). This proposal directly addresses the second goal of the program solicitation, to "take advantage of the complementary nature of ICESat and Cryosat-2 observations, particularly in the area of sea ice and ice sheets" as well as the larger goals to: "(c) use, if necessary, data from other satellites to continue critical ice sheet observations; and (d) use archived ICESat data to carry out innovative investigations in the research areas of ice sheets, sea ice, atmosphere, vegetation, and land surface processes."

Project PI: Thomas Neumann/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Code 614.1 NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA

Phone: (301) 614-5923



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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011


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