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Assessment of Glacier Volume Change Using ASTER-Based Surface Matching of Historical Photography

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7 Author(s)
Miller, P.E. ; Sch. of Civil Eng. & Geosci., Newcastle Univ., Newcastle upon Tyne ; Kunz, M. ; Mills, J.P. ; King, M.A.
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Glaciated regions are known to be particularly sensitive to climate change. Historical archives of glacier volume change are important, as they provide context for present-day changes. Although photogrammetric archives exist for many regions, their usefulness is often limited by a lack of contemporary ground control. High quality digital elevation models (DEMs) underpin a range of change analysis activities. This paper presents a cost-effective solution which utilizes Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) DEMs as control for the scaling and orientation of archival data sets. Instead of relying upon ground-control points, a robust surface matching algorithm is employed to automatically determine the transformation required to register two overlapping DEMs. Through application to the Slakbreen glacier system in Svalbard, Norway, the strategy is assessed by first matching an ASTER DEM to a fixed lidar reference surface. This demonstrates that ASTER DEMs are effectively correct in scale, supporting their use as a control surface. The second stage of the research implements this by matching an aerial photogrammetric DEM to an ASTER reference surface. Resultant volumetric and annual elevation change rates are compared to those derived from lidar data, which are considered in this paper as a truth data set. ASTER-based matching produced a mean annual elevation change rate of -4.12 ma-1, compared to a value of -4.11 ma-1 derived from the lidar data. In volumetric terms, this equates to a difference of 0.6%. A major advantage of this approach is the near-global coverage offered by ASTER data and the opportunity that this presents for remote glacial change analysis over regional extents.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 7 )