Remote Sensing of Glaciers

Remote Sensing of Glaciers: Techniques for Topographic, Spatial and Thematic Mapping of Glaciers

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Summary

Glaciers and ice sheets have been melting significantly during recent decades, posing environmental threats at local, regional and global scales. Changes in glaciers are one of the clearest indicators of alterations in regional climate, since they are governed by changes in accumulation (from snowfall) and ablation (by melting of ice). Glacier changes have been measured for the last century by traditional field measurements, resulting in long time series for a few glaciers. Remote sensing data and methods, and geographic information systems, provide the means to allow glacier changes to be monitored at a global scale, to be analysed rapidly and to store the results and present information to both scientific and popular audiences in a way which was not possible before the digital revolution. Remote sensing of glaciers began with terrestrial and aerial photography during the middle of the 20th century, but today the discipline embraces a large variety of data types from laser scanner data to very high resolution satellite imagery, which can be applied to the mapping of glacier changes in terms of area, surface zonation or thickness. This book highlights the history of the remote sensing of glaciers, the physics of glaciers and remote sensing of them, and focuses particularly on modern data and methods used by remote sensing specialists and glaciologists. The book presents examples of glacier research carried out, for example in the Alps, Norway, Iceland, Caucasus, Patagonia, Rocky Mountains, Pakistan, Antarctica, New Zealand, and Svalbard.
This book is of interest to specialists and students working in the field of remote sensing, glaciology, physical geography, geology and climate change.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Julian Dowdeswell
Acknowledgments, Petri K.E. Pellikka
Author biography
Preface, Petri K.E. Pellikka 
Principles of remote sensing, W. Gareth Rees, Petri K.E. Pellikka
The formation and dynamics of glaciers, Michael Kuhn
Glacier parameters monitored by remote sensing, Petri K.E. Pellikka, W.Gareth Rees
The early history of remote sensing of glaciers, Christoph Mayer
Physics of glacier remote sensing, Matti Leppäranta & Hardy B. Granberg
Terrestrial photogrammetry in glacier studies, Kari Kajuutti, Tuija Pitkänen, Henrik Haggrén, Petri K.E. Pellikka
Aerial photogrammetry in glacier studies, Andreas Kääb 
Optical remote sensing of glacier extent, Frank Paul & Johan Hendriks
SAR imaging of glaciers, Kjell Arild Høgda, Rune Storvold & Tom Rune Lauknes
Airborne laser scanning in laser studies, Thomas Geist & Johann Stötter
Ground penetrating radar, Francisco Navarro & Olaf Eisen
Detection and visualization of glacier area changes, Frank Paul & Johan Hendriks
Detection of distortions in digital elevation models: simultaneous data acquisition at Hintereisferner glacier, Olli Jokinen
Accuracy aspects in topographical change detection of glacier surface, Olli Jokinen & Thomas Geist
The role of remote sensing in World-wide glacier monitoring, Andreas Kääb
Conclusions, W. Gareth Rees

Editor Bio(s)

Petri Pellikka obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees at the University of Helsinki, Finland, specializing in Physical geography and Development geography. He carried out his Ph.D. studies at the University of Munich, Germany and at the University of Oulu, Finland, on airborne video camera sensor calibration and its application in studies of forest phenology in the German Alps. Dr. Pellikka has been a professor of geoinformatics at the Faculty of Science of the University of Helsinki since 2002. He leads the GeoInformatics Research Group of 10 researchers and Ph.D. students at the Department of Geosciences and Geography. His current research activities are on remote sensing of forest, land cover and land use changes in East Africa, particularly Kenya. He has published over 110 scientific papers and over 40 popular articles.

Gareth Rees studied Natural Sciences as an undergraduate, specialising in Physics, and Radio Astronomy for his PhD, at the University of Cambridge. Since 1985 he has been a member of the academic staff at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), specialising in the application of spaceborne and airborne remote sensing techniques to the investigation of polar environments. He directs the Polar Landscape and Remote Sensing Group at SPRI. The work of this group includes field-based investigation of glaciers and ice caps in Svalbard and Iceland and laboratory-based studies of snow and terrestrial ice in other parts of the world including Siberia and the Caucasus Mountains. The group also has a major research focus on the dynamics of high-latitude vegetation (tundra and the northern part of the boreal forest) and its response to global climate change, and Dr Rees is the co-director of a core project of the International Polar Year that is investigating the Arctic treeline region. Dr Rees conducts frequent fieldwork in Svalbard and in northern Russia. He has published seven books and over 70 scientific papers.

Editorial Reviews

"The editors kept a good balance between theoretical background and application oriented contents. The quality of the figures is excellent. The reader could benefit from them even more if they were available in digital form as a supplement to the book.

This well structured book provides the background on remote sensing and glacier formation and links the characteristics of the relevant remote sensing data to their use in glaciological studies."

"In summary, as glaciers play a crucial role in studying climate change and global sea level rise, this book provides a comprehensive background about glacier measurements and techniques required to tackle essential research questions of global interest. It covers the full range of techniques in considerable depth so that it should be of interest to researchers beyond the field of glaciology."

From PE&RS, Volume 78 (1), January 2012; Reviewer: Rudiger Gens, Univ. Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska.

"Bringing together experts in remote sensing, glaciology, meteorology and geography, this book provides an overview of remote sensing data acquisition and processing methods for investigating glacier change. …What makes the book a valuable resource to students and practitioners in natural sciences, especially in glaciology and remote sensing, is that in addition to reviewing the different remote sensing methods it provides background in glaciology as well as in the physics of glacial remote sensing."
––Antarctic Science, 25, 2013