06 Dec 2022
06 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

A decade-plus of Antarctic sea ice thickness and volume estimates from CryoSat-2 using a physical model and waveform-fitting

Steven Fons1,2, Nathan Kurtz2, and Marco Bagnardi2,3 Steven Fons et al.
  • 1Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 2Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3ADNET Systems, Inc., Bethesda, MD, USA

Abstract. We utilize a physical waveform model and a waveform-fitting method to estimate the snow depth and snow freeboard of Antarctic sea ice from CryoSat-2, and use these estimates to calculate the sea ice thickness and volume over an 11+ year time series. We compare our snow depth and thickness estimates to other altimetry- and ship-based observations, and find good agreement overall with some discrepancies in certain regions and seasons. The time series is used to calculate trends in the data, and we find small but statistically significant negative trends in the Ross Sea autumn (-0.3 cm yr-1), the Eastern Weddell winter (-0.8 cm yr-1), and the Western Weddell autumn and annual-average (-2.6 and -1.6 cm yr-1, respectively). Significant positive trends are found in the pan-Antarctic summer (0.4 cm yr-1) and Amundsen-Bellingshausen winter and annual-average (2.3 and 0.9 cm yr-1, respectively). Though pan-Antarctic trends in sea ice thickness and volume are small between 2010–2021, we find larger-magnitude trends regionally and since 2014. We place these thickness estimates in the context of a longer-term, snow-freeboard-derived, laser-radar sea ice thickness time series that began with ICESat and continues with ICESat-2. Reconciling and validating this longer-term, multi-sensor time series will be important in better understanding changes in the Antarctic sea ice cover.

Steven Fons et al.

Status: open (until 31 Jan 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1287', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Jan 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1287', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Jan 2023 reply

Steven Fons et al.

Steven Fons et al.


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Short summary
Antarctic sea ice thickness is an important quantity in the earth system. Due to the thick and complex snow cover on Antarctic sea ice, estimating the thickness of the ice pack is difficult using traditional methods in radar altimetry. In this work, we use a waveform model to estimate the freeboard and snow depth of Antarctic sea ice from CryoSat-2, and use these values to calculate sea ice thickness and volume between 2010 and 2021 and showcase how the sea ice pack has changed over this time.