Ice Thickness and Bed Elevation of the Northern and Southern Patagonian Icefields
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The Northern and Southern Patagonian Icefields are the largest ice masses in the Southern Hemisphere outside Antarctica, but their ice volume and bed topography are poorly known. Here, we combine airborne gravity data collected in 2012 and 2016, with radar data from the Warm Ice Experiment Sounder and Centro de Estudios Científicos's to map bed elevation and ice thickness in great detail. We perform a 3‐D inversion of the gravity data constrained by radar‐derived thickness and fjord bathymetry to infer bed elevation at 500‐m spacing, with a precision of about 60 m. We detect deep glacial valleys with ice thickness exceeding 1,400 m and sectors below sea level on the western branch of Glaciar Pio XI, Occidental, between San Rafael and Colonia, and near Fitz Roy. We calculate an ice volume of 4,756 ± 923 km3 for Northern Patagonia Icefield and Southern Patagonia Icefield, or 40 times the volume of glaciers in the European Alps.