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Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access May 24, 2012

Mass balance and mass loss acceleration of the Greenland ice sheet (2002 - 2011) from GRACE gravity data

  • G. Joodaki and H. Nahavandchi

Mass balance and mass loss acceleration of the Greenland ice sheet (2002 - 2011) from GRACE gravity data

We examine the magnitude and acceleration of the Greenland ice sheet mass loss between 2002 and 2011. We use monthly observations of time-variable gravity from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite gravity mission. The Greenland mass loss during this time period is not a constant, but accelerating with time. We have used a quadratic trend in addition to a linear trend, which is usually applied to the GRACE monthly time series of ice mass changes, to show that it better represents GRACE observations. Results of computations provide a mass decrease of -166±20 Gigatonne per year (Gt/yr) by using a linear trend and -111±21 Gt/yr by fitting a quadratic trend to the monthly time series. Quadratic fitting shows that the mass loss increases from -121 Gt/yr in 2002 - 2003 to -210 Gt/yr in 2006 - 2007 and -271 Gt/yr in 2010 - 2011 with an acceleration of -32±6 Gt/yr2 in 2002 - 2011. This implies that the Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea level rise becomes larger with time. Contrary to recent studies, we use a non-isotropic filter whose degree of smoothing corresponds to a Gaussian filter with a radius of 340 km. Stripping effects in the GRACE data, C20 effect, and leakage effects are applied.


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Published Online: 2012-5-24
Published in Print: 2012-1-1

This content is open access.

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