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Discriminating Wet Snow and Firn for Alpine Glaciers Using Sentinel-1 Data: A Case Study at Rofental, Austria

Heilig, Achim and Wendleder, Anna and Schmitt, Andreas and Mayer, Christoph (2019) Discriminating Wet Snow and Firn for Alpine Glaciers Using Sentinel-1 Data: A Case Study at Rofental, Austria. Geosciences, pp. 1-22. MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute). DOI: 10.3390/geosciences9020069 ISSN 2076-3263

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Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/2/69

Abstract

Continuous monitoring of glacier changes supports our understanding of climate related glacier behavior. Remote sensing data offer the unique opportunity to observe individual glaciers as well as entire mountain ranges. In this study, we used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to monitor the recession of wet snow area extent per season for three different glacier areas of the Rofental, Austria. For four glaciological years (GYs, 2014/2015–2017/2018), Sentinel-1 (S1) SAR data were acquired and processed. For all four GYs, the seasonal snow retreated above the elevation range of perennial firn. The described processing routine is capable of discriminating wet snow from firn areas for all GYs with sufficient accuracy. For a short in situ transect of the snow—firn boundary, SAR derived wet snow extent agreed within an accuracy of three to four pixels or 30–40 m. For entire glaciers, we used optical remote sensing imagery and field data to assess reliability of derived wet snow covered area extent. Differences in determination of snow covered area between optical data and SAR analysis did not exceed 10% on average. Offsets of SAR data to results of annual field assessments are below 10% as well. The introduced workflow for S1 data will contribute to monitoring accumulation area extent for remote and hazardous glacier areas and thus improve the data basis for such locations.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/126327/
Document Type:Article
Title:Discriminating Wet Snow and Firn for Alpine Glaciers Using Sentinel-1 Data: A Case Study at Rofental, Austria
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Heilig, AchimMunich UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Wendleder, Annaanna.wendleder (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schmitt, AndreasUniversity of Applied Sciences MunichUNSPECIFIED
Mayer, ChristophBay. Akademie der WissenschaftenUNSPECIFIED
Date:30 January 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Geosciences
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:No
DOI :10.3390/geosciences9020069
Page Range:pp. 1-22
Publisher:MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)
ISSN:2076-3263
Status:Published
Keywords:SAR, transient snowline, annual AAR, mass balance, Rofental glaciers
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Remote sensing and geoscience
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Land Surface Dynamics
Deposited By: Wendleder, Anna
Deposited On:13 Feb 2019 12:58
Last Modified:21 May 2019 09:36

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