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Comparison of SAR-interferometric and surveyed velocities on a mountain glacier: Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

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An interferogram reflecting the motion of Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A., was obtained from two European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS-1) synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images, acquired on 22 and 25 January 1992. We investigate whether the interferometric data are quantitatively consistent with terrestrial velocity measurements along three transverse profiles. These terrestrial data are from different years (1987, 1990,1996) and cover different periods (6–28 April, 23 May–7 July and a whole year) than the SAR interferogram. Terrestrial ice velocity at the date of the SAR imagery is obtained via seasonal and annual corrections that are calculated from other terrestrial velocity measurements available at higher time resolution for selected sites on the glacier. Interferometric and terrestrial velocity are in excellent agreement if a (terrestrially measured) surface-normal velocity component (v⊥) is properly accounted for. This suggests that both the interferometric velocities and the conversions of terrestrial data to the winter period are reliable. The terrestrial velocity measurements show that ice flow in the upper ablation area (14–16 km sites) changes from longitudinal compression in mid-winter (v⊥ = +0.82 cm d-1) to moderate longitudinal extension during summer (v⊥ ≈ –0.25 cm d-1). In the lower ablation area, the seasonal variations of the longitudinal strain rate are much smaller: +1.0 and about +0.85 cm d-1 for the respective mid-winter and summer values of v⊥ at the 20 km site.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-01-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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