Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Jan T M. Lenaerts

Second Advisor

Alexandra Jahn

Third Advisor

Brooke C. Medley

Abstract

Accumulation explains a substantial portion of surface height changes and drives rates of firn compaction across the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Accumulation rates vary strongly over small (<25 km) distances, thereby affecting the representativeness of point measurements (such as ice cores) and complicating the derivation of mass changes from observed height changes of the ice sheet. Current atmospheric reanalyses, however, have grid spacings that are too coarse to resolve those variations, resulting in errors in mass change calculations. In this study, we use airborne snow radar observations to construct a new snow accumulation product across large portions of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, guided by large-scale reanalysis accumulation. This radar-derived product reveals significant variability in accumulation. Variability in slope in mean wind direction tends to be coincident with variability in accumulation. The relationship between accumulation, topography, and wind confirms that subgrid-scale accumulation variability is driven by snow redistribution by wind.

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