A comparison of modelled ice thickness and volume across the entire Antarctic Peninsula region

Jonathan L. Carrivick, Bethan Davies, William H. M. James, Malcolm McMillan, Neil Glasser

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Understanding Antarctic Peninsula glacier evolution requires distributed ice thickness and subglacial topography. To date, 80% of the Antarctic Peninsula mainland ice volume has only been determined at low-resolution (1 km post spacing) and the distributed ice thickness of glaciers on surrounding islands has never been quantified. In this study we applied a perfect plasticity model, selected for its simplicity, low data requirements and minimal parameterisation, to estimate glacier thickness, subglacial topography and ice volume for the entire Antarctic Peninsula region. We compared the output of this simple model to that of a more sophisticated but spatially-restricted model and also to the spatially-coarse but more extensive Bedmap2 dataset. The simple model produced mean differences of 1.4 m (std. dev. 243 m) in comparison with the more sophisticated approach for the mountainous parts of the Peninsula. It produced similar volumes for tidewater glaciers but gave unrealistic ice thickness around grounding lines. Ice thickness across low gradient plateau surfaces are mis-represented by a perfect plasticity model and thus for the southern part of the Peninsula only regional ice volume can be approximated by our model. Overall, with consideration of ice situated below sea level, model results suggest that Trinity Peninsula, Graham Land, the part of Palmer Land north of 74°S and all glaciers on islands contain an ice mass of ∼200 300 Gt, with sea level equivalent of 553 mm (± 11.6 mm). Of this total 8% is from glaciers on islands, 70% of which is from Alexander Island
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-67
Number of pages23
JournalGeografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jan 2019


  • Glacier
  • Antarctica
  • sea level


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