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Southern Alaska Glaciers: Spatial and Temporal Variations in Ice VolumeAlthough temperate mountain glaciers comprise less than 1% of the glacier-covered area on Earth, they are important because they appear to be melting rapidly under present climatic conditions and, therefore, make significant contributions to rising sea level. In this study, we use ICESat observations made in the last 1.5 years of southern Alaska glaciers to estimate ice elevation profiles, ice surface slopes and roughness, and bi-annual and/or annual ice elevation changes. We report initial results from the near coastal region between Yakutat Bay and Cape Suckling that includes the Malaspina and Bering Glaciers. We show and interpret ice elevations changes across the lower reaches of the Bagley Ice Valley for the period between October 2003 and May 2004. In addition, we use off-nadir pointing observations to reference tracks over the Bering and Malaspina Glaciers in order to estimate annual ice elevation change. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) derived DEMs are used to estimate across track regional slopes between ICESat data acquisitions. Although the distribution and quantity of ICESat elevation profiles with multiple, exact repeat data is currently limited in Alaska, individual ICESat data tracks, provide an accurate reference surface for comparison to other elevation data (e.g. ASTER and SRTM X- and C-band derived DEMs). Specifically we report the elevation change over the Malaspina Glacier's piedmont lobe between a DEM derived from SRTM C-band data acquired in Feb. 2000 and ICESat Laser #2b data from Feb.-March 2004. We also report use of ICESat elevation data to enhance ASTER derived absolute DEMs. Mountain glaciers generally have rougher surfaces and steeper regional slopes than the ice sheets for which the ICESat design was optimized. Therefore, rather than averaging ICESat observations over large regions or relying on crossovers, we are working with well-located ICESat footprint returns to estimate glacier ice elevations and surface characteristics. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Sauber, J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Molnia, B. F. (Geological Survey Reston, VA, United States)
Lutchke, S. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Rowlands, D. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Harding, D. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Carabajal, C. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Hurtado, J. M. (Texas Univ. El Paso, TX, United States)
Spade, G. (Urbino Univ. Urbino, Italy)
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Meeting Information
Fall AGU Meeting(San Francisco, CA)
Distribution Limits