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The ice-free topography of Svalbard

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  • Johannes Fürst
  • Francisco Navarro
  • Fabien Gillet-Chaulet
  • Matthias Huss
  • Geir Moholdt
  • Xavier Fettweis
  • Charlotte Lang
  • Thorsten Seehaus
  • Sangtao Ai
  • Toby Benham
  • Doug Benn
  • Helgi Björnsson
  • Julian Dowdeswell
  • Mariusz Grabiec
  • Jack Kohler
  • Ivan Lavrentiev
  • Katrin Lindbäck
  • Kjetil Melvold
  • Rickard Pettersson
  • Albane Saintenoy
  • Pablo Sánchez-Gámez
  • Thomas Schuler
  • Heidi Sevestre
  • Evgeny Vasilenko
  • Matthias Braun


Publication details

JournalGeophysical Research Letters
DateSubmitted - 24 Jul 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Oct 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2018
DatePublished (current) - 5 Nov 2018
Number of pages10
Early online date9/10/18
Original languageEnglish


We present a first version of the Svalbard ice-free topography (SVIFT1.0) using a mass-conserving approach for mapping glacier ice thickness. SVIFT1.0 is informed by more than 900’000 point-measurements of glacier thickness, totalling almost 8’300 km of thickness profiles. It is publicly available for download. Our estimate for the total ice volume is 6’253km3, equivalent to 1.6cm sea-level rise. The thickness map suggests that 13% of the glacierised area is grounded below sea-level. Thickness values are provided together with a map of error estimates that comprise uncertainties in the thickness surveys as well as in other input variables. Aggregated error estimates are used to define a likely ice-volume range of 5’200-7’400km3. The ice-front thickness of marine-terminating glaciers is a key quantity for ice-loss attribution because it controls the potential ice discharge by iceberg calving into the ocean. We find a mean ice-front thickness of 133m for the archipelago.

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©2018. American Geophysical Union. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

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