A monitoring system for mountain glaciers and ice caps using 30 meter resolution satellite data

Kazunari Nakano, Yong Zhang, Yoshihiro Shibuo, Hironori Yabuki, Yukiko Hirabayashi
Released: September 20, 2013

A monitoring system for mountain glaciers and ice caps using 30 meter resolution satellite data

Kazunari Nakano1), Yong Zhang1), Yoshihiro Shibuo2), Hironori Yabuki3), Yukiko Hirabayashi1)

1) Institute of Engineering Innovation, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
2) Earth Observation Data Integration & Fusion Research Institute, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
3) Japan Agency for Marine-earth Science and Technology

We developed a monitoring system for deriving outlines of mountain glaciers and ice caps (MG&IC) at a 30 m horizontal resolution from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+). Location and area information at 30 m resolution was obtained using a band ratio (TM4/TM5) and a threshold value of TM3 with a 9 by 9 pixel average filter. The total area and number of MG&IC were 449482 km2 and 414258, respectively. The glacier outlines were similar to previous satellite-derived products for different regions. Although the derived glacier area was similar to previous estimates at regional scales, it was overestimated in some parts of Scandinavia where available satellite images are limited and only snowy season images can be used, and was underestimated in the western Himalayas and Caucasus where the glacier outlines are derived with difficulty from satellite images because of the effect of debris cover. Our system to monitor MG&IC has potential application in global hydrological and land-surface models and estimates of global sea-level rise.

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Edited and published by : Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources Produced and listed by : Nakanishi Printing Co.,Ltd.(Vol. 4 (2010)) Gakujutsu-tosho Printing Co. Ltd.(Vol. 2 (2008) – Vol. 4 (2010))

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