University Of Tasmania
143510 - Deriving melt rates at a complex ice shelf base using in-situ radar.pdf (1.77 MB)

Deriving melt rates at a complex ice shelf base using in-situ radar: application to Totten Ice Shelf

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 22:05 authored by Vankova, I, Susan CookSusan Cook, Winberry, JP, Nicholls, KW, Benjamin Galton-FenziBenjamin Galton-Fenzi

A phase‐sensitive radar (ApRES) was deployed on Totten Ice Shelf to provide the first in‐situ basal melt estimate at this dynamic East Antarctic ice shelf. Observations of internal ice dynamics at tidal timescales showed that early arrivals from off‐nadir reflectors obscure the true depth of the ice shelf base. Using the observed tidal deformation, the true base was was found to lie at 1910‐1950 m depth, at 350‐400 m greater range than the first reflection from an ice‐ocean interface. The robustness of the basal melt rate estimate was increased by using multiple basal reflections over the radar footprint, yielding a melt rate of 22 ± 2.1 m a−1. The ApRES estimate is over 40% lower than the three existing satellite estimates covering Totten Ice Shelf. This difference in basal melt is dynamically significant and highlights the need for independent melt rate estimates using complementary instrumentation and techniques that rely on different sets of assumptions.


Publication title

Geophysical Research Letters





Article number









Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Amer Geophysical Union

Place of publication

2000 Florida Ave Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20009

Rights statement

© 2021. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Antarctic and Southern Ocean ice dynamics