Changes in glacier geometry and extent in Svalbard: implications for sea level rise in the 20th and 21st centuries

The melt of small glaciers is making a substantive contribution to the rapid rise of global sea level. Climate change is predicted to have most effect on temperature in the Arctic, making glaciers in this region particularly vulnerable to melt. This proposal is to collect LiDAR elevation data that will allow direct measurement of the volume changes of characteristic Arctic glaciers in Svalbard over the 20th century. Digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from LiDAR will be differenced from those produced using digital photogrammetry covering the period 1956-2003. Ground control points (GCPs), which are essential to producing the photogrammetric DEMs, will be derived from the LiDAR data. These results will allow better estimation of the contribution of the Svalbard archipelago to sea level rise over the 20th and 21st centuries.
The glaciers selected for airborne LiDAR and photogrammetric survey during summer 2003 are Austre Brøggerbreen, Midre Lovénbreen, Monacobreen, Slakbreen, Fridtjovbreen, Grönfjordbreen, Aavatsmarkbreen and Kongsvegen. These glaciers will be imaged using the NERC ARSF plane to produce LiDAR DEMs with a 1-2m horizontal spatial resolution. Two remote GPS base stations will be established to provide ground control for the airborne flights. These base stations will each operate for ~36 hours and will be put into position by helicopter. The exact dates when they will run cannot be specified as this will be weather dependent. GPS base stations will also be run in Longyearbyen, Ny Ålesund and Svea during the airborne campaign.