A mass conservation approach for mapping glacier ice thickness
Article first published online: 13 OCT 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 19, October 2011
How to Cite
2011), A mass conservation approach for mapping glacier ice thickness, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L19503, doi:10.1029/2011GL048659., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 13 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 13 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 6 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Received: 24 JUN 2011
- ice thickness;
- mass conservation;
- radar echo sounding
 The traditional method for interpolating ice thickness data from airborne radar sounding surveys onto regular grids is to employ geostatistical techniques such as kriging. While this approach provides continuous maps of ice thickness, it generates products that are not consistent with ice flow dynamics and are impractical for high resolution ice flow simulations. Here, we present a novel approach that combines sparse ice thickness data collected by airborne radar sounding profilers with high resolution swath mapping of ice velocity derived from satellite synthetic-aperture interferometry to obtain a high resolution map of ice thickness that conserves mass and minimizes the departure from observations. We apply this approach to the case of Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (79North) Glacier, a major outlet glacier in northeast Greenland that has been relatively stable in recent decades. The results show that our mass conserving method removes the anomalies in mass flux divergence, yields interpolated data that are within about 5% of the original data, and produces thickness maps that are directly usable in high spatial-resolution, high-order ice flow models. We discuss the application of this method to the broad and detailed radar surveys of ice sheet and glacier thickness.