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      Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017

      The IMBIE team
      Nature
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="d4918524e40">The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). Over this period, ocean-driven melting has caused rates of ice loss from West Antarctica to increase from 53 ± 29 billion to 159 ± 26 billion tonnes per year; ice-shelf collapse has increased the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula from 7 ± 13 billion to 33 ± 16 billion tonnes per year. We find large variations in and among model estimates of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment for East Antarctica, with its average rate of mass gain over the period 1992-2017 (5 ± 46 billion tonnes per year) being the least certain. </p>

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          Status of high-latitude precipitation estimates from observations and reanalyses

          An intercomparison of high-latitude precipitation characteristics from observation-based and reanalysis products is performed. In particular the precipitation products from CloudSat provide an independent assessment to other widely used products, these being the observationally-based GPCP, GPCC and CMAP products and the ERA-Interim, MERRA and NCEP-DOE R2 reanalyses. Seasonal and annual total precipitation in both hemispheres poleward of 55° latitude is considered in all products, and CloudSat is used to assess intensity and frequency of precipitation occurrence by phase, defined as rain, snow or mixed phase. Furthermore, an independent estimate of snow accumulation during the cold season was calculated from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). The intercomparison is performed for the 2007–2010 period when CloudSat was fully operational. It is found that ERA- Interim and MERRA are broadly similar, agreeing more closely with CloudSat over oceans. ERA-Interim also agrees well with CloudSat estimates of snowfall over Antarctica where total snowfall from GPCP and CloudSat is almost identical. A number of disagreements on regional or seasonal scales are identified: CMAP reports much lower ocean precipitation relative to other products, NCEP-DOE R2 reports much higher summer precipitation over northern hemisphere land, GPCP reports much higher snowfall over Eurasia, and CloudSat overestimates precipitation over Greenland, likely due to mischaracterization of rain and mixed-phase precipitation. These outliers are likely unrealistic for these specific regions and time periods. These estimates from observations and reanalyses provide useful insights for diagnostic assessment of precipitation products in high latitudes, quantifying the current uncertainties, improving the products, and establishing a benchmark for assessment of climate models.
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            MASS BALANCE CHANGES AND ICE DYNAMICS OF GREENLAND AND ANTARCTIC ICE SHEETS FROM LASER ALTIMETRY

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              Author and article information

              Journal
              Nature
              Nature
              Springer Science and Business Media LLC
              0028-0836
              1476-4687
              June 2018
              June 13 2018
              June 2018
              : 558
              : 7709
              : 219-222
              Article
              10.1038/s41586-018-0179-y
              29899482
              8cf00f59-f20b-4717-8771-a1da5baa5c39
              © 2018

              http://www.springer.com/tdm


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