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Elevation changes (1949–1995) of Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, derived from a multi-baseline InSAR DEM and historical maps

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We have constructed a new digital elevation model (DEM) of the 1995 surface of Black Rapids Glacier, a surge-type glacier in the central Alaska Range, using ERS-1/-2 repeat-pass interferometry. We isolated the topographic phase from three interferograms with contrasting perpendicular baselines. Numerous phase-unwrapping errors caused by areas of poor coherence were corrected in all three interferograms, using a novel, iterative, semi-automated approach that capitalizes on the multi-baseline nature of the dataset. Comparison of our DEM with a 1949 US Geological Survey DEM and with 1973–95 ground survey data shows the gradual return of Black Rapids Glacier to a presurge hypsometry following a surge in 1936/37. Maximum elevation changes along the glacier center line in the ablation and accumulation areas are, respectively, −249 and +63 m (−5.4 and +1.4 m a−1). Maximum elevation changes of survey points at nearby locations are −4.9 m a−1 (1975–84) and +0.5 m a−1 (1975–85). Center-line thickening of +62 m between 1949 and 1995 (+1.4 m a−1), just above the Loket tributary in the upper part of the ablation zone, indicates dynamic thickening following the 1936/37 surge.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2010

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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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