The Photographic History of Greenland’s Glaciers – and how the historical data plays an important role in today’s glacier research

Anders Anker Bjørk, Kristian Kjellerup Kjeldsen, Niels Jákup Korsgaard, Søren Aagaard, Camilla Snowman Andresen, Jonathan Bamber, Michiel van den Broeke, William Colgan, Svend Visby Funder, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Nicolaj K. Larsen, Horst Machguth, Christopher Nuth, Anders Schomacker, Kurt H. Kjær

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


As the Greenland Ice Sheet and Greenland's glaciers are continuing to loss mass at high rates, knowledge of their past response to climatic changes is ever important. By harvesting the archives for images, both terrestrial and airborne, we are able to expand the record of glacier observation by several decades, thus supplying crucial knowledge on glacier behavior to important climatic transitions such as the end of the Little Ice Age and the early 20th Century warming. Here we show how a large collection of historical aerial images portray the glacial response to the Little Ice Age deglaciation in Greenland and document frontal change throughout the 20th Century. A detailed story of the LIA-deglaciation is told by supplementing with terrestrial photos that capture the onset of retreat and high resolution aerial images that portray geomorphological evidence of the Little Ice Age maximum extent. This work is the result of several generations of Greenland researches and their efforts to portray and document the state of the glaciers, and highlights that while interpretations and conclusions may be challenged and changed through time, the raw observations remain extremely valuable. Finally, we also show how archival data besides photos may play an important role in future glacier research in Greenland.
Original languageDanish
Publication date2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 14 Dec 201518 Dec 2015


Conference 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

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