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Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajökull, Iceland, 1973–92

Annals of Glaciology

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, , , and
https://doi.org/10.3189/S0260305500011964

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Abstract

Vatnajökull, Iceland, is the Earth’s most studied ice cap and represents a classical glaciological field site on the basis of S. Pálsson’s seminal glaciological field research in the late 18th century. Since the 19th century, Vatnajökull has been the focus of an array of glaciological studies by scientists from many nations, including many remote-sensing investigations since 1951. Landsat-derived positions of the termini of 11 outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull 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 Vatnajökull. Tungnaárjökull receded −1413 ± 112 m (−1380 ± 1 m from ground observations), and Brúarjökull 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.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajökull, Iceland, 1973–92
Series title:
Annals of Glaciology
DOI:
10.3189/S0260305500011964
Volume:
24
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Contributing office(s):
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description:
9 p.
First page:
72
Last page:
80
Country:
Iceland
Other Geospatial:
Vatnajökull ice cap