Glaciers that end in the ocean undergo unique styles of seasonal and long-term behavior that are not observed in land-terminating glaciers. I’ve been involved in several NSF and NASA-funded projects that investigate this variability in both Greenland and Alaska. These are interdisciplinary projects with glaciologists and oceanographers, jointly investigating the role of fjord circulation on glacier variability.

Our current project, funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, brings together an interdisciplinary team to investigate Helheim Glacier, East Greenland (read about it here). Our contribution to this project is to explore short-term changes in terminus dynamics with two Autonomous Terrestrial LAser Scanners (ATLAS). These two scanners produce point-clouds every 6 hours, year-round. Near real-time photos of the systems are here.

Figure showing our ATLAS sites at Helheim Glacier, East Greenland. (a) Schematic of Helheim Glacier and ATLAS-KU (Figure credit: Chris Bickel, AAAS). (b) ATLAS-KU coverage with overlap from ICESat- 2 tracks. (c) Point cloud of Helheim Glacier produced from both ATLAS-KU systems and colored by elevation.

Automated Terrestrial LiDAR (ATLAS) video, created by CRREL collaborators
(Adam LeWinter).