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Spatial and temporal Antarctic ice sheet mass trends, glacio-isostatic adjustment and surface processes from a joint inversion of satellite altimeter, gravity and GPS data

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter ClarkeORCiD, Professor Matt King, Dr Liz Petrie



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


We present spatiotemporal mass balance trends for the Antarctic Ice Sheet from a statistical inversion of satellite altimetry, gravimetry, and elastic-corrected GPS data for the period 2003–2013. Our method simultaneously determines annual trends in ice dynamics, surface mass balance anomalies, and a time-invariant solution for glacio-isostatic adjustment while remaining largely independent of forward models. We establish that over the period 2003–2013, Antarctica has been losing mass at a rate of −84 ± 22 Gt yr−1, with a sustained negative mean trend of dynamic imbalance of −111 ± 13 Gt yr−1. West Antarctica is the largest contributor with −112 ± 10 Gt yr−1, mainly triggered by high thinning rates of glaciers draining into the Amundsen Sea Embayment. The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced a dramatic increase in mass loss in the last decade, with a mean rate of −28 ± 7 Gt yr−1 and significantly higher values for the most recent years following the destabilization of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula around 2010. The total mass loss is partly compensated by a significant mass gain of 56 ± 18 Gt yr−1 in East Antarctica due to a positive trend of surface mass balance anomalies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Martín-Español A, Zammit-Mangion A, Clarke PJ, Flament T, Helm V, King MA, Luthcke SB, Petrie E, Remy F, Schön N, Wouters B, Bamber JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface

Year: 2016

Volume: 121

Issue: 2

Pages: 182-200

Online publication date: 03/02/2016

Acceptance date: 22/12/2015

Date deposited: 15/02/2016

ISSN (print): 2169-9003

ISSN (electronic): 2169-9011

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/2015JF003550


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Science Foundation (NSF)
EAR-0735156National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under NSF Cooperative Agreement
FT110100207Australian Research Council Future Fellowship
NE/I027401/1UK NERC grant