Mass Balance Studies in Antarctica

Malcolm Mellor
1959 Journal of Glaciology  
The general characteristics of the coastal regions between long. 45° E. and long. 80° E. are described. The features and conditions are similar to those found along the coasts of the Australian sector further to the east. Measurements of accumulation, snow transport, ice flow and ablation are described and results are given. Accumulation, measured from stakes and pits, is 1.0 × 1014 gm./yr. in a 1 km. wide strip running 850 km. inland from the coast of MacRobertson Land. The methods of gauging
more » ... methods of gauging drifting snow and extrapolating the results are given and a meridional mass transport of 0.16 × 1014 gm./km. yr. is deduced. Iceberg calving rates given in a previous paper are again quoted, although they are now felt to be too low. Net ablation is 0.053 × 1014 gm./km. yr. and additional evaporation above the firn limit accounts for 0.045 x 1014 gm./km. yr. The estimates are compared with old and new observations from other parts of Antarctica and the problem of bottom melting beneath ice shelves is discussed. A distinction is made between the meteorological water budget for Antarctica and the glaciological mass balance for the ice sheet. Mass budgets for the sector between long. 45° E. and long. 80° E. and for the whole of Antarctica are drawn up. In each case a surplus of accumulation over losses appears, but it is felt that the data are insufficient to claim that the ice sheet is growing at the present time. The drift snow and ablation losses are added to the net accumulation to give a figure of 14 cm. of water as the mean annual precipitation over Antarctica, a value lying between the estimates of Meinardus and Kosack.
doi:10.3189/s0022143000017275 fatcat:h25xv7ct3rhrfi2qylwujnmkke