Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
The Cryosphere, 12, 71-79, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-71-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
10 Jan 2018
Using satellite laser ranging to measure ice mass change in Greenland and Antarctica
Jennifer A. Bonin1, Don P. Chambers1, and Minkang Cheng2 1College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, 33701, USA
2Center for Space Research, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78759, USA
Abstract. A least squares inversion of satellite laser ranging (SLR) data over Greenland and Antarctica could extend gravimetry-based estimates of mass loss back to the early 1990s and fill any future gap between the current Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and the future GRACE Follow-On mission. The results of a simulation suggest that, while separating the mass change between Greenland and Antarctica is not possible at the limited spatial resolution of the SLR data, estimating the total combined mass change of the two areas is feasible. When the method is applied to real SLR and GRACE gravity series, we find significantly different estimates of inverted mass loss. There are large, unpredictable, interannual differences between the two inverted data types, making us conclude that the current 5×5 spherical harmonic SLR series cannot be used to stand in for GRACE. However, a comparison with the longer IMBIE time series suggests that on a 20-year time frame, the inverted SLR series' interannual excursions may average out, and the long-term mass loss estimate may be reasonable.

Citation: Bonin, J. A., Chambers, D. P., and Cheng, M.: Using satellite laser ranging to measure ice mass change in Greenland and Antarctica, The Cryosphere, 12, 71-79, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-71-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
Before GRACE in 2002, few large-scale measurements of mass change over Greenland and Antarctica existed. We use a least squares inversion of satellite laser ranging (SLR) data to expand the polar mass change time series back to 1994. We explain the technique and analyze its errors, then apply it to SLR and GRACE data. We can estimate the summed mass change over Greenland and Antarctica with low uncertainty. SLR's noise causes interannual errors, but the 20-year estimate is reliable.
Before GRACE in 2002, few large-scale measurements of mass change over Greenland and Antarctica...
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