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A Comparison of Recent Elevation Change Estimates of the Devon Ice Cap as Measured by the ICESat and EnviSAT Satellite Altimeters

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4 Author(s)
Eero Rinne ; School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K. ; Andrew Shepherd ; Alan Muir ; Duncan Wingham

We have used surface elevation measurements acquired by the Ice, Cloud,and land Elevation Satellite Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) and EnviSAT Radar Altimeter 2 (RA-2) satellite altimeters to assess the elevation change of the 13 700-km2 Devon Ice Cap (DIC) in Arctic Canada between 2002 and 2008. We present algorithms for the retrieval of elevation change rates over ice caps using data acquired from these satellites. A comparison of GLAS elevation data to those acquired by the RA-2 shows reasonable agreement between the two instruments; the root mean square elevation change difference was 56 cm, and the correlation coefficient between the two data sets was 0.68. Using only RA-2 elevation measurements, which are spatially and temporally more continuous, we determined the elevation change rate of the areas of the DIC where the surface geometry allows the RA-2 retracker to maintain lock. This includes most of the DIC, excluding large parts of the eastern half of the ice cap. The elevation change rate was found to be insignificant given a statistical estimate of the measurement error (-0.09 ± 0.29 m/a). We also present an assessment of the regional variations of the DIC elevation change, including a significant -0.71 ± 0.49 m/a elevation change rate of the 1980-km2 western arm. Furthermore, we present evidence of a localized 2-m drop in the surface elevation of the South Croker Bay Glacier during summer 2007. This drop is apparent within both satellite data sets, and we interpret this signal to reflect a sudden speedup of the glacier.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 6 )