Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajökull, Iceland, 1973–92

  • Richard S. Williams (a1), Dorothy K. Hall (a2), Oddur Sigurðsson (a3) and Janet Y. L. Chien (a4)

Abstract

Vatnajökull, Iceland, is the Earth’s most studied ice cap and represents a classical glaciological field site on the basis of S. Pálsson’s seminal glaciological field research in the late 18th century. Since the 19th century, Vatnajökull has been the focus of an array of glaciological studies by scientists from many nations, including many remote-sensing investigations since 1951. Landsat-derived positions of the termini of 11 outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull were compared with frontal positions of six of these 11 outlet glaciers determined by field observations during the period 1973–92. The largest changes during the 19 year period (1973–92) occurred in the large lobate, surge-type outlet glaciers along the southwestern, western, and northern margins of Vatnajökull. Tungnaárjökull receded −1413 ± 112 m (−1380 ± 1 m from ground observations), and Brúarjökull receded −1975 ± 191 m (−2096 ± 5 m from extrapolated ground observations) between 1973 and 1992. Satellite images can be used to delineate glacier margin changes on a time-lapse basis, if the glacier margin can be spectrally discriminated from terminal moraines and sandur deposits and if the advance/recession is larger than maximum image pixel size. “Local knowledge” of glaciers is critically important, however, in the accurate delineation of glacier margins on Landsat images.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajökull, Iceland, 1973–92
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajökull, Iceland, 1973–92
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Comparison of satellite-derived with ground-based measurements of the fluctuations of the margins of Vatnajökull, Iceland, 1973–92
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Ahlmann, H. W:son and Th, S.órarinsson, eds. 1937–43. Vatnajökull: scientific results of the Swedish Icelandic investigations 1936–37–38. Geogr. Ann., 19(3–4), 1937, 146–231; 20(3–4), 1938, 171–233; 21(1) 1939, 39–66; 21(3–4), 1939, 171–242; 22(3–4), 1940, 188–205; 25(1–2), 1943,154.
Bayr, K. J., Hall, D. K. and Kovalick, W. M.. 1994. Observations on glaciers in the eastern Austrian Alps using satellite data. Int. J. Remote Sensing, 15(9), 1733–1742.
Benson, C. S. 1962. Stratigraphic studies in the snow and firn of the Greenland ice sheet. SIPRE Res. Rep. 70.
Benson, C. S. and Motyka, R. J.. 1979. Glacier–volcano interactions on Mt. Wrangell, Alaska. University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Geophysical Institute. Annual Report. 1977–78, 125.
Bjömsson, H. 1980a. The surface area of glaciers in Iceland, Jökull. 28, 1978, 3134.
Björnsson, H. 1980b. Glaciers in Iceland Jökull, 29, 1979, 7480.
Bjönsson, H. 1988. Hydrology of ice taps in volcanic regions. Visindafélag Isl. Rit 45.
Eiríksson, H. H. 1932. Observations and measurements of some glaciers in Austur–Skaftafellssýsla. Visindafélag Isl. Rit 12.
Eypórsspn, J. 1931. On the present position of the glaciers in Iceland: some preliminary studies and investigations in the summer 1930. Visindafélag Isl. Rit 10.
Eypórsson, J. 1949. Variations of glaciers in Iceland, 1930–47. J. Glaciol., 1(5), 250252.
Eypórsson, J. 1963, Variation of Icelandic glaciers 1931–1960. Jökull, 13, 3133.
Garvin, J. B. and Williams, R. S., Jr. 1993. Geodetic airborne laser altimetry of Breidamerkurjökull and Skeidarárjökull, Iceland, and Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland. Ann, Glaciol., 17, 379385.
Harberli, W. 1995. Glacier fluctuations and climate change detection — operational elements of a worldwide monitoring strategy. WMO Bull., 44(1), 2331.
Haeberli, W. and Hoelzle, M.. 1995. Application of inventory data for estimating characteristics of and regional climate-change effects on mountain glaciers: a pilot study with the European Alps. Ann. Glaciol.. 21, 206212.
Hall, D. K., Ormsby, J. P., Bindschadler, R. A. and Siddalingaiah, H.. 1987. Characterization of snow and ice reflectance zones on glaciers using Landsat thematic mapper data. Ann. Glaciol., 9, 104108.
Hall, D. K., Williams, R. S., Jr and Bayr, K. J.. 1992. Glacier recession in Iceland and Austria as observed from space. EOS, 73(12), 129, 135, 141.
Hall, D. K., Benson, C. S. and Field, W. O.. 1995a. Changes of glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska, using ground and satellite measurements. Phys. Geogr., 16(1), 2741.
Hall, D. K., Williams, R. S., Jr and O, Sigurðsson. 1995b. Glaciological observations of Brúarjökull, Iceland, using synthetic aperture radar and thematic mapper satellite data. Ann. Glaciol., 21, 271276.
Knight, P., Weaver, R. and Sudden, D.. 1987. Using Landsat MSS data for measuring ice sheet retreat. Int. J. Remote Sensing, 8(7), 1069–1074.
Krimmel, R. M. and Meier, M. F.. 1975. Glacier applications of ERTS images. J. Glaciol., 15(73), 391402.
Lucchitta, B. K., Mullins, K. F.. Allison, A. L. and Ferrigno, J. G., 1993. Antarctic glacier-tongue velocities from Landsat images: first results. Ann. Glaciol., 17, 356366.
Meier, M. F. 1984. Contribution of small glaciers to global sea level. Science, 226 (4681), 1418–1421.
Oerlemans, J. 1994. Quantifying global warming from the retreat of glaciers. Science, 264(5156), 243245.
Östrem, G. 1975. ERTS data in glaciology — an effort to monitor glacier mass balance from satellite imagery. J. Glaciol., 15(73), 403415.
Paterson, W. S. B. 1994. The physics of glaciers. Third edition. Oxford, etc., Elsevier.
Sigurðsson, O. and Jónsson, T.. 1995. Relation of glacier variations to climate changes in Iceland. Ann. Glaciol., 21, 263270.
Thórarinsson, S. 1960. Glaciological knowledge in Iceland before 1800: a historical outline. Jökull, 10, 118.
Thórarinsson, S. 1969. Glacier surges in Iceland with special reference to the surges of Brúarjökull. Can. J. Earth Sci., 6(4), Part 2. 875882.
Thórarinsson, S. 1974. Vötnin strið saga Skeiðarárhlaupa og Grimsvatnagosa [Fast-flowing rivers: the history of jökulhlaups in Skeiðará and eruptions in Grímsvötn] Reykjavik, Bókaútgáfá Menningarsjóðs.
Thórarinsson, S., Sæmundsson, K. and Williams, R. S.. Jr. 1974. ERTS-1 image of Vatnajökull: analysis of glariological, structural, and volcanic features. Jökull, 23, 1973, 717.
Thoroddsen, T. 1892, Islands Jokler i fortid og nutid. Geogr. Tidsskr., 11(5–6), 111146.
Williams, R. S., Jr. 1983. Satellite glaciology of Iceland. Jökull, 33, 312.
Williams, R. S., Jr. 1986a. Glacier inventories of Iceland: evaluation and use of sources of data. Ann. Glaciol., 8, 184191.
Williams, R. S., Jr. 1986b. Glaciers and glacial laudforms. In Short, N. M. and R. W Blair. Jr, eds. Geomorphology from space: a global overview of regional laudforms: Greenbelt, MD National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Goddard Space Flight Center, 521–596. (NASA SP-486.)
Williams, R. S., Jr. 1987. Satellite remote sensing of Vatnajökull. Iceland. Ann. Glaciol., 9, 127135.
Williams, R. S., Jr and Ferrigno, J. G.. 1994. Satellite image atlas of glaciers of the world. U.S. Geol. Surv. Global Change Fact Sheet FS-94-009.
Williams, R. S., Jr and Hall, D. K.. 1993. Glaciers. In Gurney. R.J., J. L Foster and Parkinson, C. L., eds. Atlas of satellite observations related to global change. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 401422.
Williams, R. S., Jr and Hall, D. K.. In press. Use of remote sensing techniques, In Haeberli. W., ed. Into the 2nd century of world glacier monitoring: prospects and strategies. Paris, UNESCO International Hydrological Programme. (IHP Series.)
Williams, R. S., Jr and 8 others. 1974. Environmental studies of Iceland with ERTS-1 imagery. Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Remote Sensing of the Environment. 15–19 April 1974. Vol. 1. Ana Arbor, MI, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, 3181.
Williams, R. S., Jr, Hall, D. K. and Benson, C. S.. 1991. Analysis of glacier facies using satellite techniques. J. Glaciol., 37(125), 120–128.
Wood, F. B. 1988. Global alpine glacier trends, 1960s to 1980s, Arct. Alp. Res., 20(4), 404413.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed