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Deriving ice thickness, glacier volume and bedrock morphology of the Austre Lovénbreen (Svalbard) using Ground-penetrating Radar

Abstract : The Austre Lovénbreen is a 4.6 km2 glacier on the Archipelago of Svalbard (79°N) that has been surveyed over the last 47 years in order of monitoring in particular the glacier evolution and associated hydrological phenomena in the context of nowadays global warming. A three-week field survey over April 2010 allowed for the acquisition of a dense mesh of Ground-penetrating Radar (GPR) data with an average of 14683 points per km2 (67542 points total) on the glacier surface. The profiles were acquired using a Mala equipment with 100 MHz antennas, towed slowly enough to record on average every 0.3 m, a trace long enough to sound down to 189 m of ice. One profile was repeated with 50 MHz antenna to improve electromagnetic wave propagation depth in scattering media observed in the cirques closest to the slopes. The GPR was coupled to a GPS system to position traces. Each profile has been manually edited using standard GPR data processing including migration, to pick the reflection arrival time from the ice-bedrock interface. Snow cover was evaluated through 42 snow drilling measurements regularly spaced to cover all the glacier. These data were acquired at the time of the GPR survey and subsequently spatially interpolated using ordinary kriging. Using a snow velocity of 0.22 m/ns, the snow thickness was converted to electromagnetic wave travel-times and subtracted from the picked travel-times to the ice-bedrock interface. The resulting travel-times were converted to ice thickness using a velocity of 0.17 m/ns. The velocity uncertainty is discussed from a common mid-point profile analysis. A total of 67542 georeferenced data points with GPR-derived ice thicknesses, in addition to a glacier boundary line derived from satellite images taken during summer, were interpolated over the entire glacier surface using kriging with a 10 m grid size. Some uncertainty analysis were carried on and we calculated an averaged ice thickness of 76 m and a maximum depth of 164 m with a relative error of 11.9%. The volume of the glacier is derived as 0.3487±0.041 km3. Finally a 10-m grid map of the bedrock topography was derived by subtracting the ice thicknesses from a dual-frequency GPS-derived digital elevation model of the surface. These two datasets are the first step for modelling thermal evolution of the glacier and its bedrock, as well as the main hydrological network.
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Contributor : Albane Saintenoy <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 4:15:01 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 3:41:31 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00831387, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1306.2539


Albane Saintenoy, Jean-Michel Friedt, Adam Booth, Florian Tolle, Eric Bernard, et al.. Deriving ice thickness, glacier volume and bedrock morphology of the Austre Lovénbreen (Svalbard) using Ground-penetrating Radar. Near Surface Geophysics, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), 2013, 11, pp.253-261. ⟨hal-00831387⟩



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