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Determining surface mass balance from DEM's

Written by Thomas Zwinger.

Accum all annotThis article deals with the reconstruction of surface mass balance patterns based on digital elevation models (DEM's). Using two consecutive DEMs, Elmer/Ice has been used as a diagnostic model to evaluate the emergence velocity for a geometry defined as the arithmetic mean between these two DEMs. Using in addition a linearly between the DEMs interpolated local elevation change, one is able to reconstruct an average surface mass balance (SMB) for the period of interest. As the object of study, Midtre Lovénbreen (a small glacier in Svalbard, close to the Nye Ålesund station), has an accompanying excellent record of stake data measurements, the authors were able to compare the results from their new approach with in-situ observations. The advantages of the presented approach clearly are given by the facts that (provided the bedrock is known) surface DEMs can be obtained using modern remote sensing techniques and lead to a result for the inverted SMB covering the whole glacier, whereas in-situ measurements usually are confined to a limited area of the glacier.

Read more:  Välisuo, I., T. Zwinger and J. Kohler, 2017. Inverse solution of surface mass balance of Midtre Lovénbreen, Svalbard, Journal of Glaciology, 1-10, doi:10.1017/jog.2017.26.

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