Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

A new glacier inventory for the European Alps from Landsat TM scenes of 2003: challenges and results

  • F. Paul (a1), H. Frey (a1) and R. Le Bris (a1)
Abstract

Meltwater from glaciers in the European Alps plays an important role in hydropower production, and future glacier development is thus of economic interest. However, an up-to-date and alpine-wide inventory for accurate assessment of glacier changes or modelling of future glacier development has not hitherto been available. Here we present a new alpine-wide inventory (covering Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland) derived from ten Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) scenes acquired within 7 weeks in 2003. Combined with the globally available digital elevation model from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, topographic inventory parameters were derived for each of the 3770 mapped glaciers, covering 2050 km2. The area-class frequency distribution is very similar in all countries, and a mean northerly aspect (NW, N, NE) is clearly favoured (arithmetic counting). Mean glacier elevation is ~2900 m, with a small dependence on aspect. The total area loss since the previous glacier inventory (acquired around 1970±15 years) is roughly one-third, yielding a current area loss rate of ~2%a–1. Digital overlay of the outlines from the latest Austrian glacier inventory revealed differences in the interpretation of glacier extents that prohibit change assessment. A comparison of TM-derived outlines with manually digitized extents on a high-resolution IKONOS image returned 1.5% smaller glaciers with TM.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      A new glacier inventory for the European Alps from Landsat TM scenes of 2003: challenges and results
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      A new glacier inventory for the European Alps from Landsat TM scenes of 2003: challenges and results
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      A new glacier inventory for the European Alps from Landsat TM scenes of 2003: challenges and results
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Abermann, J., Lambrecht, A., Fischer, A. and Kuhn, M.. 2009. Quantifying changes and trends in the glacier area and volume in the AustrianOÖ tzal Alps (1969–1997–2006). Cryosphere, 3(2), 205–215.
Abermann, J., Fischer, A., Lambrecht, A. and Geist, T.. 2010. On the potential of very high-resolution repeat DEMs in glacial and periglacial environments. Cryosphere, 4(1), 53–65.
Andreassen, L.M., Paul, F., Kääb, A. and Hausberg, J.E.. 2008. Landsat-derived glacier inventory for Jotunheimen, Norway, and deduced glacier changes since the 1930s. Cryosphere, 2(2), 131–145.
Bishop, M.P., Bonk, R., Kamp, U. Jr and Shroder, J.F. Jr. 2001. Terrain analysis and data modeling for alpine glacier mapping. Polar Geogr., 25(3), 182–201.
Braithwaite, R.J. 2009. After six decades of monitoring glacier mass balance we still need data but it should be richer data. Ann. Glaciol., 50(50), 191–197.
Citterio, M. and 6 others. 2007. The fluctuations of Italian glaciers during the last century: a contribution to knowledge about Alpine glacier changes. Geogr. Ann., Ser. A, 89(3), 167–184.
DeBeer, C.M. and Sharp, M.J.. 2009. Topographic influences on recent changes of very small glaciers in the Monashee Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. J. Glaciol., 55(192), 691–700. (10.3189/002214309789470851.)
Evans, I.S. 2006. Local aspect asymmetry of mountain glaciation: a global survey of consistency of favoured directions for glacier numbers and altitudes. Geomorphology, 73(1–2), 166–184.
Farinotti, D., Huss, M., Bauder, A. and Funk, M.. 2009. An estimate of the glacier ice volume in the Swiss Alps. Global Planet. Change, 68(3), 225–231.
Farr, T.G. and 17 others. 2007. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Rev. Geophys., 45(2), RG2004. (10.1029/ 2005RG000183.)
Frey, H. and Paul, F.. In press. On the suitability of the SRTM DEM and ASTER GDEM for the compilation of topographic parameters in glacier inventories. Int. J. Appl. Earth Obs. Geoin-form. (10.1016/j.jag.2011.09.020.)
Haeberli, W. and Hoelzle, M.. 1995. Application of inventory data for estimating characteristics of and regional climate-change effects on mountain glaciers: a pilot study with the European Alps. Ann. Glaciol., 21, 206–212.
Haeberli, W., Hoelzle, M., Paul, F. and Zemp, M.. 2007. Integrated monitoring of mountain glaciers as key indicators of global climate change: the European Alps. Ann. Glaciol., 46, 150–160.
Hayakawa, Y.S., Oguchi, T. and Lin, Z.. 2008. Comparison of new and existing global digital elevation models: ASTER G-DEM and SRTM-3. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35(17), L17404. (10.1029/ 2008GL035036.)
Huss, M., Farinotti, D., Bauder, A. and Funk, M.. 2008. Modelling runoff from highly glacierized alpine drainage basins in a changing climate. Hydrol. Process., 22(19), 3888–3902.
Kargel, J.S. and 16 others. 2005. Multispectral imaging contributions to global land ice measurements from space. Remote Sens. Environ., 99(1–2), 187–219.
Koboltschnig, G.R., Schöner, W., Zappa, M., Kroisleitner, C. and Holzmann, H.. 2008. Runoff modelling of the glacierized Alpine Upper Salzach basin (Austria): multi-criteria result validation. Hydrol. Process., 22(19), 3950–3964.
Kotlarski, S., Jacob, D., Podzun, R. and Paul, F.. 2010. Representing glaciers in a regional climate model. Climate Dyn., 34(1), 27–46.
Lambrecht, A. and Kuhn, M.. 2007. Glacier changes in the Austrian Alps during the last three decades, derived from the new Austrian glacier inventory. Ann. Glaciol., 46, 177–184.
Paul, F. 2007. The new Swiss glacier inventory 2000 – application of remote sensing and GIS. Schr. Phys. Geogr., Univ. Zürich 52.
Paul, F. 2010. Towards a global glacier inventory from satellite data: recent efforts and challenges to complete the global glacier inventory with modern geoinformatic techniques. Geogr. Helv., 65(2), 103–112.
Paul, F. and Andreassen, L.M.. 2009. A new glacier inventory for the Svartisen region, Norway, from Landsat ETM+ data: challenges and change assessment. J. Glaciol., 55(192), 607–618.
Paul, F. and Haeberli, W.. 2008. Spatial variability of glacier elevation changes in the Swiss Alps obtained from two digital elevation models. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35(21), L21502. (10.1029/2008GL034718.)
Paul, F. and Kääb, A.. 2005. Perspectives on the production of a glacier inventory from multispectral satellite data in Arctic Canada: Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island. Ann. Glaciol., 42, 59–66.
Paul, F., Kääb, A., Maisch, M., Kellenberger, T.W. and Haeberli, W.. 2002. The new remote-sensing derived Swiss glacer inventory: I. Methods. Ann. Glaciol., 34, 355–361.
Paul, F., Huggel, C., Kääb, A., Kellenberger, T. and Maisch, M.. 2003. Comparison of TM-derived glacier areas with higher resolution data sets. EARSeL eProc., 2(1), 15–21.
Paul, F., Huggel, C. and Kääb, A.. 2004a. Combining satellite multispectral image data and a digital elevation model for mapping debris-covered glaciers. Remote Sens. Environ., 89(4), 510–518.
Paul, F., Kääb, A., Maisch, M., Kellenberger, T. and Haeberli, W.. 2004b. Rapid disintegration of Alpine glaciers observed with satellite data. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(21), L21402. (10.1029/ 2004GL020816.)
Paul, F., Kääb, A. and Haeberli, W.. 2007. Recent glacier changes in the Alps observed from satellite: consequences for future monitoring strategies. Global Planet. Change, 56(1–2), 111–122.
Paul, F., Kääb, A., Rott, H., Shepherd, A., Strozzi, T. and Volden, E.. 2009a. GlobGlacier: a new ESA project to map the world’s glaciers and ice caps from space. EARSeL eProc., 8(1), 11.
Paul, F. and 9 others. 2009b. Recommendations for the compilation of glacier inventory data from digital sources. Ann. Glaciol., 50(53), 119–126.
Raup, B. and 11 others. 2007. Remote sensing and GIS technology in the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) Project. Comput. Geosci., 33(1), 104–125.
Schär, C. and 6 others. 2004. The role of increasing temperature variability in European summer heatwaves. Nature, 6972(427), 332–336.
Schwarb, M. 2000. The Alpine precipitation climate: evaluation of a high-resolution analysis scheme using comprehensive rain-gauge data. (PhD thesis, ETH Zürich.)
Suter, S., Laternser, M., Haeberli, W., Frauenfelder, R. and Hoelzle, M.. 2001. Cold firn and ice of high-altitude glaciers in the Alps: measurements and distribution modelling. J. Glaciol., 47(156), 85–96.
Svoboda, F and Paul, F. 2009. A new glacier inventory on southern Baffin Island, Canada, from ASTER data: I. Applied methods, challenges and solutions. Ann. Glaciol., 50(53), 11–21.
United States Geological Survey (USGS). 2008. Opening the Landsat archive. USGS Factsheet 2008-3091.
Viviroli, D., Zappa, M., Gurtz, J. and Weingartner, R.. 2009. An introduction to the hydrological modelling system PREVAH and its pre- and post-processing tools. Environ. Model. Softw., 24(10), 1209–1222.
World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). 1989. World glacier inventory: status 1988, ed. Haeberli, W., Boösch, H., Scherler, K., Østrem, G. and Wallén, C.C.. IAHS(ICSI)–UNEP–UNESCO, World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zürich.
WGMS. 2009. Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin No. 10 (2006–2007), eds. Haeberli, W., Gärtner-Roer, I., Hoelzle, M., Paul, F. and Zemp, M.. ICSU(WDS)/IUGG(IACS)/UNEP/UNESCO/WMO, World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zürich.
Zemp, M., Paul, F., Hoelzle, M. and Haeberli, W.. 2008. Glacier fluctuations in the European Alps, 1850–2000: an overview and a spatiotemporal analysis of available data. In Orlove, B., Wiegandt, E. and Luckman, B.H., eds. Darkening peaks: glacier retreat, science, and society. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, 152–167.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed