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Summary of Proposal LAN0320

TitleAnalysing Changes in the Seasonal Flow Patterns of a Polythermal Arctic Glacier through a Combination of Ground-Based Photogrammetry and Satellite Interferometry
Investigator Whitehead, Ken - University of Calgary, Geography
Team MemberNo team members defined
SummaryThis project will develop techniques to measure ice flow velocities across the Bylot Island icefield. The project will also quantify the variability in flow between different glaciers and help to establish the causes of such variation. The techniques developed will contribute significantly to the development of an overall understanding of the interaction between glaciers and climate, both for Bylot Island and for the Eastern Arctic in general.

Historical motion patterns will be established for most of Bylot Island using SAR interferometry. Suitable ERS-1 and ERS-2 scenes were obtained during the winter of 1992 and the winter of 1996. Interferograms generated from this data will allow accurate measurement of historical velocities for each of these two periods.

An interferometric analysis of imagery from the recently-launched TerraSAR radar satellite will be used to obtain contemporary ice motion patterns. Ascending and descending pass image pairs will be obtained for winter, spring, summer, and autumn, over a three year period. Ice velocities derived from these interferograms will be compared with each other and with those for 1992 and 1996 to see what changes in motion have occurred in recent years, and are currently occurring.

To investigate seasonal patterns in more detail, three high-resolution, time-lapse cameras will be set up to take photographs of the ablation area of Stagnation Glacier every few days. Photogrammetric modelling software will be used to compute the position of a number of targets spread over the surface of the glacier, allowing weekly and monthly displacements to be calculated, and allowing the seasonal flow dynamics of this glacier to be determined over the course of a year.

By combining data derived from each of these sources, a highly detailed picture of the flow dynamics of the Bylot Island ice cap will be obtained. The combination of the wide spatial coverage provided by InSAR with the detailed temporal profile obtained using ground-based photogrammetry will allow empirical models to be developed of the glacial flow dynamics of Bylot Island and will help to predict future glacial flow patterns.

Scientific papers describing research results will be published in peer reviewed journals, particularly in journals with a Remote Sensing or Glaciological focus. Results will also be disseminated via poster and conference presentations.

Funding will come from a number of sources including Dr Moorman’s NSERC research grant, the Canadian Space Agency, and the University of Calgary Research Grant.

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