Flow speed and calving rate of Kongsbreen glacier, Svalbard, using SPOT images

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Lefauconnier, Bernard ; Hagen, Jon Ove ; Rudant, Jean Paul (1994)

Kongsbreen, a tide-water glacier located in Kongsfjorden, is the most active calving glacier in Svalbard. Three SPOT images are used to determine its flow speed and calving rate. The position of fourteen reference points was determined on the coast or mountain sides, and the changes in position of 144 characteristic features on the glacier surface were calculated. The obtained speed profiles arc consistent with the findings from previous works from 1962-64 and 1983-86. When comparing the obtained longitudinal profile to the data from 1962–64. it is found that the flow velocity at a given distance from the front has been nearly constant. The results from the SPOT images analysis are completed by using existing topographic works. The present study shows that SPOT images (panchromatic as well as multichannel), recorded with a periodicity of one year, can be used to determine precisely the annual flow speed and calving rate of active glaciers such as Kongsbreen. Images recorded with a periodicity of two, three or four weeks can allow identical determination on tide-water glaciers during a surging active phase.
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