University Of Tasmania

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Land-ice elevation changes from photon-counting swath altimetry: first applications over the Antarctic ice sheet

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 09:58 authored by Young, DA, Lindzey, LE, Blankenship, DD, Greenbaum, JS, Garcia de Gorordo, A, Kempf, SD, Jason RobertsJason Roberts, Roland WarnerRoland Warner, Tasman van OmmenTasman van Ommen, Siegert, MJ, Le Meur, E
Satellite altimetric time series allow high-precision monitoring of ice-sheet mass balance. Understanding elevation changes in these regions is important because outlet glaciers along ice-sheet margins are critical in controlling flow of inland ice. Here we discuss a new airborne altimetry dataset collected as part of the ICECAP (International Collaborative Exploration of the Cryosphere by Airborne Profiling) project over East Antarctica. Using the ALAMO (Airborne Laser Altimeter with Mapping Optics) system of a scanning photon-counting lidar combined with a laser altimeter, we extend the 2003–09 surface elevation record of NASA's ICESat satellite, by determining cross-track slope and thus independently correcting for ICESat's cross-track pointing errors. In areas of high slope, cross-track errors result in measured elevation change that combines surface slope and the actual Δzt signal. Slope corrections are particularly important in coastal ice streams, which often exhibit both rapidly changing elevations and high surface slopes. As a test case (assuming that surface slopes do not change significantly) we observe a lack of ice dynamic change at Cook Ice Shelf, while significant thinning occurred at Totten and Denman Glaciers during 2003–09.


Publication title

Journal of Glaciology










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Int Glaciol Soc

Place of publication

Lensfield Rd, Cambridge, England, Cb2 1Er

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes