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TitleCryosat reveals significant recent elevation change for some Arctic Ice Caps
AuthorGray, L; Burgess, DORCID logo
SourceIASC Workshop on the dynamics and mass budget of Arctic glaciers, abstracts and program; by Copland, L (ed.); Tijm-Reljmer, C H (ed.); 2014 p. 19-20
LinksOnline - En ligne (PDF, 792 KB)
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130378
MeetingInternational Arctic Science Commitee, Workshop & Network on Arctic Glaciology annual meeting; Ottawa; CA; February 3-5, 2014
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; doc
ProvinceNunavut; Northwest Territories
AreaBaffin Island; Ellesmere Island; Devon Island
Lat/Long WENS-120.0000 -64.0000 84.0000 68.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; Nature and Environment; topography; radar methods
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience
Released2014 01 01
AbstractIn the past satellite radar altimetry has provided information on ice elevation change over the central Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets, but has had very limited utility in monitoring change on smaller ice caps like those in the Canadian Arctic. Cryosat was developed by the European Space Agency with a special mode which, it was hoped, would allow the estimation of ice terrain elevation on the sloping edges of the larger ice sheets, and for the smaller ice caps and glaciers in many regions of the world. Indeed with the potential of climate change and uncertainty in future ice melt, the need for improved tools to monitor change in all the world¿s glaciated regions has become more pressing. As the smaller ice caps and glaciers will be a significant contributor to future sea level rise there is a clear need for appropriate satellite monitoring. We show that the Cryosat SARIn mode can provide relevant elevation change information for a number of Arctic Ice Caps.

The Cryosat SARIn mode has key capabilities that allow the extraction of suitable height information for smaller ice caps: The footprint size is relatively small; the cross-track interferometry allows mapping of the position of the ¿point-of-closest-approach¿ (POCA) and the orbit pattern provides for relatively frequent coverage, particularly for the high latitude ice caps. Height change information has been derived for some key Arctic Ice Caps including Penny and Barnes on Baffin Island, the Ice Cap on Devon Island, and the Agassiz Ice Cap on Ellesmere Island. Our preliminary research shows that the summer of 2012 exhibited significant melt, particularly for the more southerly ice caps, Barnes and Penny on Baffin Island. Where possible, the satellite height change data will be compared to appropriate airborne and in-situ surface measurements.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Preliminary analysis of data from the Cryosat radar altimeter reveal significant annual height changes of some large ice caps in the Canadian high Arctic. We also demonstrate that the frequent coverage by Cryosat over high latitude ice caps allows us to detect seasonal changes in ice mass, and therefore to discriminate between mass loss (summer melting) and mass gain (winter accumulation). The CryoSat radar altimeter is a European Space Agency initiative that will play an integral role in Canada's scaled glacier-climate observing approach, contributing to Climate Change Geoscience Program objectives through provision of data on glacier mass change as it concerns freshwater flux to oceans.

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