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Title: Distributed modeling of ablation (1996–2011) and climate sensitivity on the glaciers of Taylor Valley, Antarctica

Here, the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica host the coldest and driest ecosystem on Earth, which is acutely sensitive to the availability of water coming from glacial runoff. We modeled the spatial variability in ablation and assessed climate sensitivity of the glacier ablation zones using 16 years of meteorological and surface mass-balance observations collected in Taylor Valley. Sublimation was the primary form of mass loss over much of the ablation zones, except for near the termini where melt, primarily below the surface, dominated. Microclimates in ~10 m scale topographic basins generated melt rates up to ten times higher than over smooth glacier surfaces. In contrast, the vertical terminal cliffs on the glaciers can have higher or lower melt rates than the horizontal surfaces due to differences in incoming solar radiation. The model systematically underpredicted ablation for the final 5 years studied, possibly due to an increase of windblown sediment. Surface mass-balance sensitivity to temperature was ~–0.02 m w.e. K–1, which is among the smallest magnitudes observed globally. We also identified a high sensitivity to ice albedo, with a decrease of 0.02 having similar effects as a 1 K increase in temperature, and a complex sensitivity to wind speed.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Portland State Univ., Portland, OR (United States)
  3. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1246355
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-15-22111
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-1430
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Glaciology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-1430
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING Planetary Sciences; glaciers