Glacial retreat is a worldwide phenomenon, requiring the implementation of new technology, such as airborne LiDAR, to keep up with the accelerating pace of glacial retreat observed around the world. Mapping glaciers to better understand the rate of glacial retreat and how it relates to mass balance changes in hydrological cycles is of the utmost concern in many areas that rely on glacial runoff for hydroelectricity, irrigation and drinking water. Terra has considerable experience mapping glaciers with airborne LiDAR in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Glacier mapping comes with many challenges, including using laser wavelengths that are conducive to reliable LiDAR pulse returns from ice and snow. Carrying out aircraft operations above 5000m in highly rugged terrain with high winds and dynamic weather conditions also presents potential safety issues. Terra has experience in safely overcoming these challenges to provide excellent LiDAR and digital imagery, which can be applied to gain a better understanding of the mass, rate of change and other characteristics of glaciers.