Vatnajo??kull, Iceland, is the Earth's most studied ice cap and represents a classical glaciological field site on the basis of S. Pa??lsson's seminal glaciological field research in the late 18th century. Since the 19th century, Vatnajo??kull has been the focus of an array of glaciological studies by scientists from many nations, including many remotesensing investigations since 1951. Landsat-derived positions of the termini of 11 outlet glaciers of Vatnajo??kull were compared with frontal positions of six of these 11 outlet glaciers determined by field observations during the period 1973-92. The largest changes during the 19 year period (1973-92) occurred in the large lobate, surge-type outlet glaciers along the southwestern, western, and northern margins of Vatnajo??kull. Tungnaa??rjo??kull receded - 1413 ?? 112 m (-1380 ?? l m from ground observations), and Bru??arjo??kull receded -1975 ?? 191 m (-2096 ?? 5 m from extrapolated ground observations) between 1973 and 1992. Satellite images can be used to delineate glacier margin changes on a time-lapse basis, if the glacier margin can be spectrally discriminated from terminal moraines and sandur deposits and if the advance/recession is larger than maximum image pixel size. "Local knowledge" of glaciers is critically important, however, in the accurate delineation of glacier margins on Landsat images.
Additional publication details
Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajokull, Iceland, 1973-92