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Ice – Remote Sensing

Seasonal glacier surface mass balance derived with an unmanned aerial vehicle

Research areas:

Mass balance, mountain glacier, UAV


Southwest Greenland

Start year:


End year:



The Greenlandic Research Council, Asiaq

Alexander Helland

Project leader

Since 2012, traditional glaciological and hydrological methods have been used to determine the mass balance of a small mountain glacier near Nuuk. To improve the spatial resolution, we are now testing the performance of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under challenging snow conditions to attain seasonal elevation changes on the glacier.

The aim of the project is to determine high resolution volume changes of the glacier with an UAV. The result will be compared with traditional glaciological measurements and will help to assess small-scale variability of snow and ablation patterns.