Surface Mass Balance and Wind Glaze Mapping in Antarctica

NASA logoThis project is funded by NASA grant NNX10AL42G


Thomas Neumann (NASA) and Ted Scambos (NSIDC)

Project Summary

East Antarctica's surface climate and snow cover interact strongly with the atmosphere, and a key feature of the climate in this area is persistent wind. This interaction leads to unique surface features, megadunes and wind glaze, that form by the redistribution of snow by the wind, extreme thermal cycling, and processes of sublimation in dry wind conditions. A result of these interactions is that there are many small regions of the East Antarctic Plateau with near-zero net snow accumulation, and that the overall accumulation input to this ice sheet has been overestimated because the extent of these wind glaze areas was not fully appreciated earlier.

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