Geologist Will Upgrade Monitoring of Greenland Glacier Critical to Sea-Level Rise

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Leigh Stearns, a geologist with the University of Kansas, is working with a RIEGL VZ-6000 ultra long range terrestrial laser scanner, incorporated into an ATLAS (Autonomous Terrestrial Laser Scanning) system to monitor rates of ice loss on the Helheim Glacier, a tidewater glacier undergoing large-scale changes due to global climate change.

“LiDAR is an emerging technology for the earth sciences because it produces an incredibly detailed 3-D view of features,” said the KU researcher. “Repeat LiDAR scanning reveals small-scale changes with very high precision. These systems are now used to measure how bridges are sagging, how tectonic faults propagate and now how glaciers flow. The ATLAS systems are unique because they’re designed to scan the glacier terminus every six hours, year-round. That’s not a trivial task when there’s no sunlight in the winter, winds are high and it’s very cold.”

Read the entire article over at the KU website to learn more about the important work Stearns is doing.

You can also contact Leigh at stearns@ku.edu.

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