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Radar mapping of Isunnguata Sermia, Greenland

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Ice thickness estimates using advanced nadir sounding and tomographic radar processing techniques are compared and combined in a study of Isunnguata Sermia glacier, Greenland. Using an ensemble of Operation IceBridge flight lines spaced at 500 m intervals and running approximately along the flow direction, we find there is a statistically excellent comparison between subglacial terrains derived from two-dimensional tomography and gridded nadir sounding. Analysis shows that tomographic data better capture short wavelength (1–2 km) patterns in basal terrain, but interpolated nadir sounding data yield more spatially extensive and continuous coverage across the glacier, especially in deep subglacial troughs. Using derived surface and basal topography maps, we find that driving stress and measured and modeled surface velocity comparisons indicate that basal sliding is an important component of the glacier motion, but is also only weakly coupled to the detailed bed topography save for the deepest troughs. As might be expected for this land-terminating, relatively slow-moving glacier, the subglacial and proglacial topography is similar, suggesting the erosional processes acting on the modern glacier bed once helped sculpt the now exposed land.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-12-01

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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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