Publication details

Early twentieth century evolution of Ferdinand glacier, Svalbard, based on historic photographs and Structure-from-Motion technique



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Geografiska Annaler Series A Physical Geography
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Historic photographs; little ice age; structure-from-motion; ice thickness; glacier volume; Svalbard
Description Glaciers in central Svalbard are retreating since their Little Ice Age maximum, dated in the area to around 1900. Past areal extent of glaciers can confidently be reconstructed based on end moraine position. However, reconstructions of thickness and volume of glaciers remain relatively more complicated and uncertain. In this study, past changes in thickness and volume of the Ferdinand Glacier was reconstructed based on Structure-from-Motion techniques and field dGPS measurements in combination with analysis of historic photos from 1908 and aerial photos from 1938. According to the comparison of the historic and recent photograph, the 1908 glacier front height was estimated to 50 m and the glacier volume to 91.5 mil m(3) and the 1938 glacier volume estimated to 76.1 mil m(3), in comparison to 6.29 mil m(3) in 2014. This means more than 90% loss of volume since 1938. Melting of the glacier in the first half of the twentieth century resulted in thinning and lowering of the glacier surface together with substantial ice volume loss, whereas the areal extent was almost not affected. Considering the 2014 mean ice thickness, together with ongoing climate warming, it is likely that the Ferdinand Glacier will completely disappear within the next 30 years.
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