A high-resolution sensor network for monitoring glacier dynamics

Ian Martin*, Timothy O'Farrell, Robin Aspey, Stuart Edwards, Timothy James, Pavel Loskot, Tavi Murray, Ian Rutt, Nicholas Selmes, Timothy Bauge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper provides an overview of a wide area wireless sensor network that was deployed on the calving front of the Helheim Glacier in Greenland during the summer of 2013. The purpose of the network was to measure the flow rate of the glacier using accurate satellite positioning data. The challenge in this extreme environment was to collect data in real time at the calving edge of the glacier. This was achieved using a solar powered 2.4-GHz Zigbee wireless sensor network operated in a novel hybrid cellular/mesh access architecture consisting of ice nodes communicating with base stations placed on the rock adjacent to the glacier. This highly challenging transmission environment created substantial signal outage conditions, which were successfully mitigated by a radio network diversity scheme. The network development and measurement campaign were highly successful yielding significant results on glacial dynamics associated with climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6879238
Pages (from-to)3926-3931
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • GPS
  • Greenland
  • Helheim
  • NET
  • PHEN
  • SYST
  • WSN
  • extreme environment
  • glacial calving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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