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Evaluating volumetric glacier change methods using airborne laser scanning data


Joerg, Philip Claudio; Zemp, Michael (2014). Evaluating volumetric glacier change methods using airborne laser scanning data. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 96(2):135-145.

Abstract

Assessments of geodetic volume change are widely used in glaciology and have a long tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Over time, the geodetic method and corresponding data storage have been developed further, but the resulting methodological heterogeneity can lead to errors that are difficult to separate from other survey uncertainties. In this study we used high-resolution airborne laser scanning data from the Findelengletscher in the Swiss Alps to evaluate state-of-the-art volumetric glacier change methods. For the first time we have been able to simulate errors arising from different geodetic methods and spatial resolutions. The evaluation showed that, although the digital elevation models were perfectly co-registered, systematic and random method- and scale-dependent errors still occurred. These errors have an impact on the resulting volume changes at lower spatial resolutions and may lead to exponentially larger uncertainties. Volume changes from contour methods provided reasonably accurate results, while volumetric change assessments from central profile lines were especially prone to biases at any scale.

Abstract

Assessments of geodetic volume change are widely used in glaciology and have a long tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Over time, the geodetic method and corresponding data storage have been developed further, but the resulting methodological heterogeneity can lead to errors that are difficult to separate from other survey uncertainties. In this study we used high-resolution airborne laser scanning data from the Findelengletscher in the Swiss Alps to evaluate state-of-the-art volumetric glacier change methods. For the first time we have been able to simulate errors arising from different geodetic methods and spatial resolutions. The evaluation showed that, although the digital elevation models were perfectly co-registered, systematic and random method- and scale-dependent errors still occurred. These errors have an impact on the resulting volume changes at lower spatial resolutions and may lead to exponentially larger uncertainties. Volume changes from contour methods provided reasonably accurate results, while volumetric change assessments from central profile lines were especially prone to biases at any scale.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Oct 2014 14:17
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 07:48
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0435-3676
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/geoa.12036

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