Resources > Video: Capturing Glacial Change Through 3D Time-lapse Photography on the Helheim Glacier, Greenland

Capturing Glacial Change Through 3D Time-lapse Photography on the Helheim Glacier, Greenland

Naturalist Nights 2015 | Adam LeWinter, Ph.D.

At nearly 4-miles wide and flowing at speeds of up to 90-feet per day, the Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland is one of the main tidewater glaciers draining the Greenland Ice Sheet, contributing to global sea level rise. Capturing measurements of the glaciers movement on a daily timescale, needed to understand how changing atmospheric and ocean conditions affect the glaciers speed, is extremely difficult due to its vast scale and remote location. Satellite imagery provides detailed information on these areas, but rely on long orbit times and clear skies to image the glacier. Onsite time-lapse cameras installed at glaciers around the world have visually uncovered the hourly movement of the ice, yet are not quantitative measurements. In this talk, LeWinter will discuss the Greenland Atlas Project designed to fill this gap in knowledge, from the multiple years of developing and testing a long-range laser scanner, to the engineering of the fully autonomous terrestrial laser scanner (Atlas) system to be deployed and operated year-round at Helheim Glacier to capture high-resolution 3D time-lapse imagery. The system is complex, must be completely self-powered and controlled onsite, and will be faced with some of the harshest conditions on the planet.

Adam LeWinter is an engineer and scientist at the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, where he focuses on large scale changes in glacier, alpine, and volcanic settings using state-of-the-art laser scanning. Ranging from the Greenland Ice Sheet to Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, LeWinter specializes in collecting visually captivating data in the most extreme environs. LeWinter was the lead engineer and field manager for the Extreme Ice Survey, and is an Emmy Award winner for his work on the film Chasing Ice. His work aims to reveal processes in nature that are hidden to the naked eye.

Naturalist Nights are brought to you through a partnership between Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Workshop, and Roaring Fork Audubon.

Adam LeWinter, Ph.D., Research Physical Scientist, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory

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