Assessing the accuracy of Greenland ice sheet ice ablation measurements by pressure transducer

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We present a method of measuring ice ablation using an absolute pressure transducer as part of an automatic weather station (AWS) system, which we have installed in 17 locations on the Greenland ice sheet. The pressure transducer assembly is drilled into the ice, enclosed in a hose filled with antifreeze liquid. The pressure signal registered by the transducer is that of the vertical column of liquid over the sensor, which can be translated to depth, and ice ablation rate, knowing the density of the liquid. Measuring at sub-daily timescales, this assembly is well suited to monitoring ice ablation in remote regions, with clear advantages over other, well-established methods. The pressure transducer system has the potential to monitor ice ablation for several years without re-drilling, and the system is suitable for high-ablation areas (>5ma -1). A routine to transform raw measurements into ablation values is presented, including a physically based method to remove air-pressure variability from the signal. The pressure transducer time series is compared to that recorded by a sonic ranger for the climatically hostile setting on the Greenland ice sheet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1150
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number212
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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