Changes in areal extent, elevation and volume of Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada, as estimated from a series of maps produced between 1919 and 1979

J. R. Reynolds, G. J. Young
1997 Annals of Glaciology  
Changes in planimetric area, elevation and volume were calculated for Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada, below 2400 m elevation for the period 1919–79 from maps produced using aerial or terrestrial photogrammetry. Map contours were digitized and converted into raster digital elevation models (DEMs). Comparison of the models allowed changes in volume and elevation to be estimated. In the time of record, the glacier lost 2.344 × 108 m3 of volume and downwasted significantly. There are several
more » ... rces of error associated with DEM generation and construction: source maps have spatially variable uncertainty in vertical estimation, associated with the photogrammetric process used; small errors are introduced in the creation of raster DEMs as a result of fitting surfaces to digitized contours; errors of registration, leading to errors in estimation of vertical change over time, can be of significance, especially when comparing maps produced by different photogrammetric techniques. These errors are quantified and displayed in transect and map form. Especially with maps only 2 years apart in time, errors are often greater than actual changes in surface elevation. The magnitude of the errors involved in the comparison of maps made with a 2 year interval would suggest that 5 or 10 years between successive mappings might have been more scientifically justifiable and more cost effective.
doi:10.1017/s0260305500011940 fatcat:f476hiqjgneydgnpxp45t4r4ge