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Spatially and temporally resolved ice loss in High Mountain Asia and the Gulf of Alaska observed by CryoSat-2 swath altimetry between 2010 and 2019

Abstract : Glaciers are currently the largest contributor to sea level rise after ocean thermal expansion, contributing ∼ 30 % to the sea level budget. Global monitoring of these regions remains a challenging task since global estimates rely on a variety of observations and models to achieve the required spatial and temporal coverage, and significant differences remain between current estimates. Here we report the first application of a novel approach to retrieve spatially resolved elevation and mass change from radar altimetry over entire mountain glaciers areas. We apply interferometric swath altimetry to CryoSat-2 data acquired between 2010 and 2019 over High Mountain Asia (HMA) and in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA). In addition, we exploit CryoSat's monthly temporal repeat to reveal seasonal and multiannual variation in rates of glaciers' thinning at unprecedented spatial detail. We find that during this period, HMA and GoA have lost an average of −28.0 ± 3.0 Gt yr−1 (−0.29 ± 0.03 m w.e. yr−1) and −76.3 ± 5.7 Gt yr−1 (−0.89 ± 0.07 m w.e. yr−1), respectively, corresponding to a contribution to sea level rise of 0.078 ± 0.008 mm yr−1 (0.051 ± 0.006 mm yr−1 from exorheic basins) and 0.211 ± 0.016 mm yr−1. The cumulative loss during the 9-year period is equivalent to 4.2 % and 4.3 % of the ice volume, respectively, for HMA and GoA. Glacier thinning is ubiquitous except for in the Karakoram-Kunlun region, which experiences stable or slightly positive mass balance. In the GoA region, the intensity of thinning varies spatially and temporally, with acceleration of mass loss from −0.06 ± 0.33 to −1.1 ± 0.06 m yr−1 from 2013, which correlates with the strength of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. In HMA ice loss is sustained until 2015-2016, with a slight decrease in mass loss from 2016, with some evidence of mass gain locally from 2016-2017 onwards.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 8:34:05 AM
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Livia Jakob, Noel Gourmelen, Martin Ewart, Stephen Plummer. Spatially and temporally resolved ice loss in High Mountain Asia and the Gulf of Alaska observed by CryoSat-2 swath altimetry between 2010 and 2019. The Cryosphere, 2021, 15, pp.1845-1862. ⟨10.5194/tc-15-1845-2021⟩. ⟨insu-03707765⟩

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