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Evaluating the potential of high‐resolution airborne LiDAR data in glaciology

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We present the results of an investigation into the capabilities of high‐resolution airborne Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) for the study of a small glacier in Svalbard. The data are shown to be capable of producing a digital elevation model (DEM) with a horizontal resolution of 1–2 m and a vertical resolution of 5–15 cm. This degree of resolution is suitable for mass‐balance estimation using repeat data on an annual or semi‐annual basis, but it is also reveals linear surface features such as meltwater channels and crevasses. These have potential for tracking in repeat imagery to deduce the surface flow of the glacier. The intensity of the returned LiDAR pulse can also be used to discriminate snow‐covered parts of the glacier from bare ice.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER, UK 2: Unit for Landscape Modelling, Sir William Hardy Building, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QB, UK

Publication date: March 20, 2006

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