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Investigations on intra-annual elevation changes using multi-temporal airborne laser scanning data: case study Engabreen, Norway

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Key issues of glacier monitoring are changes in glacier geometry and glacier mass. As accurate direct measurements are costly and time-consuming, the use of various remote-sensing data for glacier monitoring is explored. One technology used and described here is airborne laser scanning. The method enables the derivation of high-quality digital elevation models (DEMs) with a vertical and horizontal accuracy in the sub-metre range. Between September 2001 and August 2002, three laser scanner data acquisition flights were carried out, covering the whole area of Engabreen, Norway, and corresponding well to the measurement dates for the mass-balance year 2001/02. The data quality of the DEMs is assessed (e.g. by comparing the values with a control area which has been surveyed independently or GPS ground profiles measured during the flights). For the whole glacier, surface elevation change and consequently volume change is calculated, quantified and compared with traditional mass-balance data for the same time interval. For the winter term, emergence/submergence velocity is determined from laser scanner data and snow-depth data and is compared with velocity measurements at stakes. The investigations reveal the high potential of airborne laser scanning for measuring the extent and the topography of glaciers as well as changes in geometry (Δarea, Δvolume).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2005

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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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