Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites

Date:
February 2, 2010
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
The intense public debate on how rapidly the Himalayan glaciers are retreating highlights the necessity for the constant monitoring of glaciers worldwide by satellites.

Surface velocity field for the Baltoro Glacier.

The intense public debate on how rapidly the Himalayan glaciers are retreating highlights the necessity for the constant monitoring of glaciers worldwide by satellites.

Since glaciers are among the most reliable indicators of climate change and because they can have a major influence on water availability, knowledge of the recent changes and future behaviour is of great interest for climate scientists and governing bodies. A key to assess these changes or to model their future evolution is the existence of a detailed glacier inventory.

Data from satellites allow scientists to measure glacier extent in detail, providing authoritative evidence of trends. They also allow local measurements to be expanded to a regional scale. Considering the valuable role satellites can play in determining the state of Earth's glaciers, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) has called for the systematic monitoring of glaciers by satellites in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In 2007, ESA started the GlobGlacier project as a major effort to develop and apply existing methodologies to monitor glaciers and contribute to a global glacier inventory using satellite observations. GlobGlacier, part of ESA's 'Data User Element', is adding about 20 000 of the estimated 160 000 glaciers worldwide to this inventory to allow their histories to be adequately tracked.

Kashmir, part of the Indian Himalayas, is one of the selected regions where little information is available on overall glacier extent or changes. GlobGlacier is creating inventory data for more than 1000 glaciers in this region.

The inventory combines information on glacier outlines based on archived satellite data from the Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instruments with topographic information from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and the Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) from ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer).

When a time series of suitable images are available for a certain region, changes in glacier length and extent can be calculated. "Such data allow scientists to assess the overall pattern of changes in a larger region for a better determination of climatic change impacts," said GlobGlacier Project Manager Frank Paul from the University of Zurich.

While most of the smaller and debris-free glaciers show considerable retreat in this period, the larger glaciers with completely covered tongues have not changed much. Several of the pro-glacial lakes have grown. Quite a few glaciers at lower altitudes are nearly free of snow in the August 2001 image, indicating a retreat that year.

ESA's ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) data are providing velocity measurements of selected glaciers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201145430.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2010, February 2). Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201145430.htm
European Space Agency. "Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201145430.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Using an organic fertiliser, a conservationist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), leads an award-winning project to reforest the sanctuary of monarch butterflies. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins