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Deriving melt rates at a complex ice shelf base using in-situ radar: application to Totten Ice Shelf


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Vankova, I, Cook, S ORCID: 0000-0001-9878-4218, Winberry, JP, Nicholls, KW and Galton-Fenzi, BK 2021 , 'Deriving melt rates at a complex ice shelf base using in-situ radar: application to Totten Ice Shelf' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 48, no. 7 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1029/2021GL092692.

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A phase‐sensitive radar (ApRES) was deployed on Totten Ice Shelf to provide the first in‐situ basal melt estimate at this dynamic East Antarctic ice shelf. Observations of internal ice dynamics at tidal timescales showed that early arrivals from off‐nadir reflectors obscure the true depth of the ice shelf base. Using the observed tidal deformation, the true base was was found to lie at 1910‐1950 m depth, at 350‐400 m greater range than the first reflection from an ice‐ocean interface. The robustness of the basal melt rate estimate was increased by using multiple basal reflections over the radar footprint, yielding a melt rate of 22 ± 2.1 m a−1. The ApRES estimate is over 40% lower than the three existing satellite estimates covering Totten Ice Shelf. This difference in basal melt is dynamically significant and highlights the need for independent melt rate estimates using complementary instrumentation and techniques that rely on different sets of assumptions.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Vankova, I and Cook, S and Winberry, JP and Nicholls, KW and Galton-Fenzi, BK
Keywords: ice shelves, basal melt, Antarctica, ground-based radar, Totten Glacier
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number: 10.1029/2021GL092692
Copyright Information:

© 2021. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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