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Delia Strong


MSc in Geography


A remote sensing study of landscape change at the terminus of Tasman Glacier using satellite images, aerial photographs and historic survey maps.


1.  To examine changes in the landscape of the terminus region of Tasman Glacier since 1895.

2. To assess the use of ASTER and Landsat satellite imagery in examining the glaciers of Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park.


Landscape change in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is occurring rapidly, as valley glaciers appear to have entered a phase of accelerating retreat. Using remotely sensed images and historical maps, spatial and temporal changes in the behaviour and position of the terminus of Tasman Glacier are examined. A chronology of change since early European settlement is being developed from historical maps, vertical aerial photographs and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images. Preliminary results show a 187% increase in the area of Tasman Lake from 1990 to 2007. Tracking the movement of features and flowlines on the glacier is assessed as a tool for determining short term fluctuations in glacier velocity. The application of satellite imagery to mapping debris covered glaciers is known to be problematic and this study attempts to assess the value of ASTER images in the context of mapping and quantifying landscape change at a low gradient, debris covered valley glacier in New Zealand.


Conference presentation:

Strong, D., Fitzsimons, S. and Sirguey, P.  2007.  Landscape change at the terminus of Tasman Glacier, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.  Presented at Snow and Ice Research Group workshop, Cass, February 2007.




© 2009 Department of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand