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Todd Redpath

MSc in Geography Todd Redpath at Tasman Glacier


Utilising ASTER imagery to derive multi-temporal flow fields for the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand.


Assoc. Prof. Sean Fitzsimons and Pascal Sirguey


To develop a multi temporal set of flow fields for the Tasman Glacier from ASTER data using image matching techniques, covering a period of 10 years.

To use this data set to investigate the dynamics of the Tasman Glacier during the period 2000-2010.

To rigorously evaluate the accuracy of the flow fields derived from ASTER data.


In recent times, and since the early 1990s in particular, advances in remote sensing technologies and the techniques used to process and analyse remotely sensed imagery have made data obtained from space-borne sensors increasingly useful for glaciological studies. This has been widely demonstrated through the instigation of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) programme. The primary focus of GLIMS has been to map and monitor the change in the areal extent of glaciers worldwide, in order to assess their response to climate change. Additional work has seen the development of computer software which is capable of tracking the movement of features on the surface of glaciers between successive remotely sensed images. Digital and manual versions of this method have been widely applied to glaciers, and have proven to be an effective and efficient means of determining the distribution of velocity vectors across the surface of a glacier. This distribution is known as the glacier's flow field, and provides a powerful dataset for investigating glacier dynamics. Some of this work has been carried out for the Tasman Glacier, and has alluded to previously unknown behaviour of the glacier. These studies have however utilized small data sets, covering only a few years at a time. The proposed project seeks to apply digital image matching techniques to a series of remotely sensed images obtained by the ASTER sensor in order to derive a set of multi-temporal flow fields covering the period 2000 2010. Deriving these flow fields will provide a comprehensive data set, previously unavailable for the Tasman Glacier, enabling a detailed investigation of the dynamic behavior of this glacier during the period 2000 2010. This investigation will enable the dynamic response of the Tasman Glacier to a changing climate to be assessed, further strengthening predictions of the future behaviour of this glacier. Additionally, this study will feature a coincident field campaign of GPS measurements made on the glacier surface during 2009/2010 allowing for a rigorous accuracy assessment of the ASTER derived flow fields. Such an accuracy assessment has been absent from other similar studies.



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