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Estimation of the ELA on Hardangerjøkulen, Norway, during the 1995/96 winter season using repeat-pass SAR coherence

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This paper demonstrates the utility of European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry for monitoring the transient snow-line (TSL) on Hardangerjøkulen ice cap, southern Norway, during the 1995/96 winter. The study shows how coherence information (an interferometry product) over the ice cap can be used to locate the TSL after the summer melt season. Spatial variations in coherence over the ice cap between successive ERS tandem-phase passes from summer to winter are related to surface and volume snow stability and surface ice stability. Temporal differences of coherence images between winter and summer are investigated using histogram analysis. A histogram threshold is found for the 1995/96 winter that can be used to identify the location of the TSL and then estimate the equilibrium-line altitude (ELA). The result shows good agreement (0.5%) with the field-estimated ELA from the Norwegian Water and Energy Administration. The method appears to be straightforward for this ice cap and it is envisaged that it could be a useful complementary method on other ice caps where repeat-pass SAR data are available.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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