In situ measurements of the ice flow motion at Eqip Sermia Glacier using a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

Jouvet, Guillaume; van Dongen, Eef; Lüthi, Martin P.; Vieli, Andreas

Measuring the ice flow motion accurately is essential to better understand the time evolution of glaciers and ice sheets and therefore to better anticipate the future consequence of climate change in terms of sea level rise. Although there are a variety of remote sensing methods to fill this task, in situ measurements are always needed for validation or to capture high-temporal-resolution movements. Yet glaciers are in general hostile environments where the installation of instruments might be tedious and risky when not impossible. Here we report the first-ever in situ measurements of ice flow motion using a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). We used a quadcopter UAV to land on a highly crevassed area of Eqip Sermia Glacier, West Greenland, to measure the displacement of the glacial surface with the aid of an onboard differential GNSS receiver. We measured approximately 70 cm of displacement over 4.36 h without setting foot onto the glacier – a result validated by applying UAV photogrammetry and template matching techniques. Our study demonstrates that UAVs are promising instruments for in situ monitoring and have great potential for capturing continuous ice flow variations in inaccessible glaciers – a task that remote sensing techniques can hardly achieve.

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Zitierform:

Jouvet, Guillaume / van Dongen, Eef / Lüthi, Martin P. / et al: In situ measurements of the ice flow motion at Eqip Sermia Glacier using a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Guillaume Jouvet et al.

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