Doctoral student Zhiyue Sun successfully defended his dissertation titled, "Estimating Glacier Ice Thickness and Mass Balance using Multiple Spaceborne Geodetic Techniques." Numerous spaceborne remote sensing techniques have been used to obtain different geodetic observations of glaciers. Contemporary estimates from these approaches yield large discrepancies in certain glacierized areas, such as the Nyainqen Tanglha, and other glacierized regions, such as the Novaya Zemlya, have been under-studied. To characterize and quantify accurate glacier mass balance estimates over Nyainqen Tanglha and Novaya Zemlya, the dissertation proposed an iterative velocity-based method to estimate thickness.
First, a new iterative method, which estimates ice thickness using surface velocity and surface topography was presented. Second, traditional spaceborne techniques of observing surface mass balance were tested in the Novaya Zemlya. Finally, the proposed thickness estimate method was applied to the four largest glaciers in the Nyainqen Tanglha. Thickness distribution maps from 2008 to 2016 were obtained, and mass balance and thickness changes were determined accordingly.