An Integrated Approach to Determining Short-Term and Long-Term Patterns of Surface Change and Flow Characteristics for a Polythermal Arctic Glacier
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AbstractA combination of remote sensing and in-situ data collection techniques were used to characterise the surface dynamics, as well as the seasonal and long-term melt patterns of Fountain Glacier, a polythermal arctic glacier located on Bylot Island in Canada's Nunavut Territory. The techniques used are presented as part of an integrated system, designed to measure key parameters relating to the overall health of the glacier system and to establish long and short-term trends. This work contributes to the knowledge-base for arctic research in that it provides an integrated and logical approach to gathering information aimed at establishing both spatial and temporal patterns of change. By making use of ground-based time-lapse photography to measure the surface elevations of targets on the glacier surface, detailed patterns showing the seasonal changes in ice thickness were revealed. By combining this with the longer-term picture obtained from comparing surface elevations from historical aerial photography long and short-term patterns of surface change were established. A number of other innovative techniques were also used, including the use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to produce detailed orthophotos and surface elevations for the glacier terminus region, as well as the production of a left-looking RADARSAT-2 interferogram, which made it possible to determine the full 3D-motion field over most of the glacier. The techniques used in this analysis are naturally complementary and are optimised for the study of slow-moving arctic glaciers. Similar studies can be used to provide much-needed data on glacier-health throughout the Canadian Arctic, with little modification being required. Such information will help to fill in gaps in contemporary knowledge with respect to the short and long-term effects of climate change in this rapidly-changing region.
CitationWhitehead, K. L. (2013). An Integrated Approach to Determining Short-Term and Long-Term Patterns of Surface Change and Flow Characteristics for a Polythermal Arctic Glacier (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/24905
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