An integrated geospatial approach to monitoring the Bering Glacier system, Alaska

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The Bering Glacier is the largest and longest glacier in continental North America, with an area of approximately 5,175 km2, and a length of 190 km. It is also the largest surging glacier in America, having surged at least five times during the twentieth century. The last surge of the Bering Glacier occurred in 1993-1995, since then, the glacier has undergone constant and significant retreat thereby expanding the boundaries of Vitus Lake and creating a highly dynamic system, both ecologically and hydrologically. This study utilized GIS to integrate remote sensing observations, with detailed bathymetric, hydrographic and in situ water quality measurements of the rapidly expanding Vitus Lake. Vitus Lake has nearly doubled in surface area from 58.4 km2 to 108.8 km2, with a corresponding increase in water volume from 6.1 km3 to 10.5 km3 over the same period. The remote sensing observations were used to direct a systematic bathymetric, hydrographic and water quality measurement survey in Vitus Lake which revealed a complex three dimensional structure that is the result of sea water inflow, convection generated by ice melting and the injection of fresh water from beneath the glacier.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
An integrated geospatial approach to monitoring the Bering Glacier system, Alaska
Year Published:
Larger Work Title:
International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS)
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Conference Title:
2004 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium Proceedings: Science for Society: Exploring and Managing a Changing Planet. IGARSS 2004
Conference Location:
Anchorage, AK
Conference Date:
20 September 2004 through 24 September 2004