The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-1-2024
10 May 2024
 | 10 May 2024

Surface topography modelling and ice flow velocity mapping of Dalk Glacier, East Antarctica: application of UAV remote sensing

Zheyi Cao, Leyue Tang, Xiaohan Yuan, and Gang Qiao

Keywords: remote sensing, surface topography modelling, ice flow velocity, unmanned aerial vehicle, Dalk Glacier, East Antarctica

Abstract. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is the largest potential contributor to global sea level rise due to global climate warming, making it important to monitor changes in the marginal outlet glacier dynamics and surface topography. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a new platform, has been proven to be a useful tool in glaciological applications because it can collect data in a variety of ways and has a high spatial and temporal resolution compared to traditional ground-based measurements and remote sensing from space. In this study, we used the combined UAV platform composed of the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise (M3E) and M300 (L1) versions to perform high-accuracy on-site investigations of Dalk Glacier, a typical outlet glacier near the Zhongshan Station in East Antarctica. During the 39th Chinese Antarctic Expedition (CHINARE) in 2022–2023, UAV surveys with multiple sensors were performed. The M3E optical camera makes it possible to reconstruct high-resolution ortho-mosaic and digital elevation models (DEMs) of Dalk Glacier with high accuracy based on photogrammetric principles, helping us to extract the features of glacier surface topography, while dense point clouds derived from the L1 LiDAR camera are used to validate and improve the three-dimensional accuracy. To further monitor the dynamics and stability of Dalk Glacier, we generate ice flow velocity maps using ortho-mosaics for the years 2019, 2020, and 2023. The spatiotemporal changes in ice flow velocities were further compared with the products derived from satellite remote sensing data.