Monitoring (snow and) glacier ice properties from space: Towards an operational glacier monitoring system

The aim of this project is to conduct research towards an operational glacier monitoring with satellite remote sensing. This involves continued research on existing problems, as well as the development of new methods. The present project involves the following tasks: 1) Study the ability of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for glacier studies. 2) Depending on the results of point 3, further work towards an operational system will be done. 3) Especially if results indicate that SAR is not suitable for reliable glacier monitoring, the project will look into additional remote sensing methods. Radar altimetry is a very likely candidate for this, for example in connection with the Cryosat Satellite, which will be sent in space in 2003. The work would involve identification of existing problems and working on these problems on the same glaciers, which the project was looking at using SAR images.
Methods for all the above points include establishing and continuing a time series of satellite images with accompanying field work. Ground data from field work, such as ice cores, snow pit analysis or ground radar data and others, will be compared with the satellite images to confirm theories and find new explanations. Calibration and geocoding of the satellite images and various image processing techniques will be used. Analysis of the time series of satellite data is planned, as well as using statistical methods.
Field Work for 2002 included taking ice cores for superimposed ice determination, a GPS survey to establish a surface elevation map of Kongsvegen, as well as standard mass balance measurements.