Taylor & Francis Group
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Analyzing ice dynamics using Sentinel-1 data at the Solheimajoküll Glacier, Iceland

posted on 2020-09-02, 18:50 authored by Diego Gómez, Pablo Salvador, Julia Sanz, Mikhail Urbazaev, José Luis Casanova

The climate in southern Iceland has warmed over the last 70 years, resulting in accelerated glacier dynamics at the Solheimajoküll glacier. In this study, we compare glacier terminus locations from 1973 to 2018, to changes in climate across the study area, and we derive ice-surface velocities (2015–2018) from satellite remote-sensing imagery (Sentinel-1) using the offset-tracking method. There have been two regional temperature trends in the study period: cooling (1973–1979) and warming (1980–2018). Our results indicate a time lag of about 20 years between the onset of glacier retreat (−53 m/year since 2000) and the inception of the warming period. Seasonally, the velocity time series suggest acceleration during the summer melt season since 2016, whereas glacier velocities during accumulation months were constant. The highest velocities were observed at high elevations where the ice-surface slope is the steepest. We tested several scenarios to assess the hydrological time response to glacier accelerations, with the highest correlations being found between one and 30 days after the velocity estimates. Monthly correlation analyses indicated inter-annual and intra-annual variability in the glacier dynamics. Additionally, we investigate the linkage between glacier velocities and meltwater outflow parameters as they provide useful information about internal processes in the glacier. Velocity estimates positively correlate with water level and negatively correlate with water conductivity between April and August. There is also a disruption in the correlation trend between water conductivity and ice velocity in June, potentially due to a seasonal release of geothermal water.


This work did not receive any funding.