Novel Remote Sensing of Glacial Change
The expedition from the University of Leeds travelled to Peru in order to test a novel remote sensing system for providing real-time assessment of glacial change. The data once published should help inform how glaciers in the Cordillera Vilcanota are responding to climate change. After experiencing problems getting their equipment through Peruvian customs, the team conducted a limited survey of the Quelccaya Ice Cap using the equipment they had. However, the bulk of their research was conducted two months later, after they returned to the area following the confirmation of further funding and the arrival of the rest of their equipment. Despite now working in the midst of the rainy season, they deployed 16 of the 30 planned cameras which produced accurate 3D models and managed to capture a major calving event that raised the level of the outflow lake by approximately 1m. With this data they hope to be able to model the glacier in more detail and predict with greater accuracy when it is leaning before calving. This will help, not only in the monitoring of glacial change, but as a warning system in the case of large calving events, which can have disastrous downstream consequences. The team plan to return in 2020 to place the rest of the equipment and build a more complete picture of the glacier.