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Form and flow of the Devon Island Ice Cap, Canadian High Arctic

Andrew Shepherd(1)

(1) University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER, United Kingdom

Abstract

The ice caps of the Canadian High Arctic constitute 15 % of the glacier ice outside of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, and are sensitive to changes in climate because of their short perturbation timescales and geographical location. We have assembled a suite of field, aircraft, and satellite measurements to investigate the form and flow of the 13,000 km2 Devon Ice Cap (DIC) and to provide boundary conditions for a 3-dimensional, thermo-mechanical model of the ice cap evolution. Airborne ice penetrating radar measurements of ice elevation and thickness are used to model the ice cap geometry. European Remote- Sensing Satellite (ERS) radar interferometry is used to determine the ice cap surface velocity. Field measurements of surface mass balance are combined with satellite passive microwave backscatter data (SMMR and SSM/I) to parameterise a model of net snow accumulation. We use these datasets to estimate fluctuations in net ablation and iceberg calving from the DIC over the past 20 years in order to bound its 92 recent contribution towards eustatic sea level and freshwater influx to the ocean, and to predict its 92 evolutionary response to standard climate change scenarios.

 

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry