A method for estimating ice mass loss from relative InSAR observations: Application to the Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland

Wenliang Zhao, Falk Amelung, Timothy H. Dixon, Shimon Wdowinski, Rocco Malservisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a new method for estimating ice mass loss from glaciers and ice sheets using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) time-series data. We use a linear inversion method based on observations of nearby bedrock uplift and a solution for surface loading of an elastic half-space. The method assumes that mass loss is focused on lower elevation terminal regions of the glacier or ice sheet, and that there is an exponential decrease in thinning rate toward the higher elevation interior. We apply the method to uplift rates between 1995 and 2009 near Vatnajökull, Iceland. The data reveal up to 13 mm/yr relative line-of-sight (LOS) velocity around the south-western edge of Vatnajökull. We find an ice mass loss rate of 6.8-0.7+0.8 Gt/yr, in approximate agreement with other estimates. Ice loss since 1995 is twice as fast as the loss rate estimated for the rest of the 20th century. Key Points Ice mass balance can be estimated using relative uplift rate derived from InSAR InSAR time-series shows clear uplift fringes around Vatnajokull, Iceland Ice mass loss of Vatnajokull from 1995-2009 is 6.8 (+0.8, -0.7) Gt/yr

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-120
Number of pages13
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • InSAR
  • Young's Modulus
  • elastic half-space
  • ice mass balance
  • time series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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