EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Frontal processes of Sermeq Kujalleq in West Greenland observed with repeated UAV surveys

Andrea Kneib-Walter1, Guillaume Jouvet2, Adrien Wehrlé1, Ana Nap1, Fabian Walter3, and Martin P. Lüthi1
Andrea Kneib-Walter et al.
  • 1University of Zurich, Department of Geography, Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, Zurich, Switzerland (
  • 2University of Lausanne, Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 3Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements, Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Outlet glaciers and ice streams transport ice from the ice sheets to the ocean, where the glaciers lose mass by iceberg calving. Sermeq Kujalleq (SKK, Jakobshavn Isbræ) is one of the largest and most dynamic ice streams of the Greenland Ice Sheet with ice flow velocities up to 40 m/day. With extensive fieldwork and detailed repeated UAV surveys we aim at understanding the complex processes occuring at the ice stream margins and at the calving front of SKK. Such processes are often neclected in numerical models inducing uncertainties in projections of the ice sheet evolution.

Within the framework of the COEBELI project we conducted drone photogrammetry surveys in July 2022 at SKK along other field measurements including in-situ GPS, GPRI, seismometers, and time-lapse imagery. Despite challenging weather conditions and constraints due to flying restrictions, we acquired 17 repeated flight surveys over the calving front of SKK during two weeks. As a result, we produced a large imagery data set, which was processed to infer high-resolution ortho-images and digital elevation models (DEM). Comparing the different products enables us to estimate changes in surface topography and ice dynamics. During the observation period several large calving events occurred allowing us to investigate the interaction between frontal processes and ice flow dynamics. With the very detailed data we can study crevasse opening, acceleration at the front, weaknesses in the ice and their origin, and the reaction of the glacier to large calving events.

How to cite: Kneib-Walter, A., Jouvet, G., Wehrlé, A., Nap, A., Walter, F., and Lüthi, M. P.: Frontal processes of Sermeq Kujalleq in West Greenland observed with repeated UAV surveys, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11610,, 2023.