Glare, a GIS tool to reconstruct the 3D surface of palaeoglaciers

Ramon Pellitero-Ondicol, Brice R Rea, Matteo Spagnolo, Jostein Bakke, Susan Ivy-Ochs, Craig R Frew, Philip Hughes, Adriano Ribolini, Sven Lukas, Hans Renssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)
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Glacier reconstructions are widely used in palaeoclimatic studies and this paper presents a new semi-automated method for generating glacier reconstructions: GlaRe, is a toolbox coded in Python and operating in ArcGIS. This toolbox provides tools to generate the ice thickness from the bed topography along a palaeoglacier flowline applying the standard flow law for ice, and generates the 3D surface of the palaeoglacier using multiple interpolation methods. The toolbox performance has been evaluated using two extant glaciers, an icefield and a cirque/valley glacier from which the subglacial topography is known, using the basic reconstruction routine in GlaRe. Results in terms of ice surface, ice extent and equilibrium line altitude show excellent agreement that confirms the robustness of this procedure in the reconstruction of palaeoglaciers from glacial landforms such as frontal moraines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalComputers & Geosciences
Early online date11 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

This research has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant IN-2012-140. Processing and collecting of ground penetrating data in Forgefonna was part of Elend Førre's master's project that was completed in 2009 at the Department of Geography, University of Bergen. We also acknowledge Dr Andreas Bauder for providing the subglacial topography data for Griessgletscher and Simone Tarquini for granting access to the high resolution TIN of Italy, a cut of which is provided to the reader to practice the tools (see Appendix). Referees Dr. Iestyn Barr, Dr. Jeremy Ely and Dr. Marc Oliva are thanked for their constructive comments and tool testing, which significantly improved the final output.


  • glacier reconstruction
  • flowline equilibrium profile
  • GIS
  • python


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