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Elevation changes (1949–1995) of Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, derived from a multi-baseline InSAR DEM and historical maps

  • Dan H. Shugar (a1), Bernhard T. Rabus (a1) (a2) and John J. Clague (a1)

Abstract

We have constructed a new digital elevation model (DEM) of the 1995 surface of Black Rapids Glacier, a surge-type glacier in the central Alaska Range, using ERS-1/-2 repeat-pass interferometry. We isolated the topographic phase from three interferograms with contrasting perpendicular baselines. Numerous phase-unwrapping errors caused by areas of poor coherence were corrected in all three interferograms, using a novel, iterative, semi-automated approach that capitalizes on the multi-baseline nature of the dataset. Comparison of our DEM with a 1949 US Geological Survey DEM and with 1973–95 ground survey data shows the gradual return of Black Rapids Glacier to a pre-surge hypsometry following a surge in 1936/37. Maximum elevation changes along the glacier center line in the ablation and accumulation areas are, respectively, −249 and +63 m (−5.4 and +1.4 m a−1). Maximum elevation changes of survey points at nearby locations are −4.9 m a−1 (1975–84) and +0.5 m a−1 (1975–85). Center-line thickening of +62 m between 1949 and 1995 (+1.4 m a−1), just above the Loket tributary in the upper part of the ablation zone, indicates dynamic thickening following the 1936/37 surge.

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References

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