Science Service System

Summary of Proposal LAN0211

TitleThe potential of TerraSAR-X for operational monitoring of glaciers and related hazards (TSX-OMOGLAH)
Investigator Kaeaeb, Andreas - University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences
Team Members
Prof. Dr. Hagen, Jon Ove Methlie - University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences
Prof. Dr. Kääb, Andreas - University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledges glaciers as the best terrestrial indicator for climate change. Ongoing atmospheric warming shifts cryospheric hazard zones. Glaciers represent an important source of water for households, agriculture, hydropower and industrial use. Spaceborne techniques are the only method to ensure a sustainable, global-scale monitoring of glaciers and related hazards. Long-term retrieval of the geophysical parameters involved in glacier change can only be reached by the combination of different sensors. In that context, it is mandatory to evaluate the potential of TerraSAR-X for operational monitoring of glaciers.

The present proposal aims at a data-exploration and feasibility study on the potential use of TerraSAR-X data for operational monitoring of glaciers and related hazards. The study will evaluate to what extent TerraSAR-X data can be used alone and when complementing other data sources. The proposed study intends to provide a basis for strategic planning and evaluation of methodology for regional- and global-scale glacier monitoring from (or aided by) TerraSAR-X. The results of the study are directed to regional and global initiatives for glacier monitoring such as the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space project (GLIMS), and to glaciologists involved in such work. In order to cover a representative set of glacier types, the proposed study applies a latitudinal transect from the European Alps (typical mid-latitude, high mountain glaciers), to Norway (typical subarctic glaciers and ice caps), to Svalbard (typical high arctic glaciers and ice caps).

- Exploration of the geometric and physical characteristics of TerraSAR-X data (all modes) under different topographic and climatic conditions from comparison with other ground, air- and spaceborne data.
- Spatio-temporal merging of TerraSAR-X data with other data such as high-resolution DEMs, or air- and spaceborne optical and SAR data. Validation of the results obtained from merging.
- Application of TerraSAR-X data and mergers thereof to selected glacier areas that are especially relevant with respect to regional signals of glacier change and related hazards.
- Particular effort will be put on evaluating the potential combination of data from TerraSAR-X and the CryoSat SIRAL instrument for operational glacier monitoring.

In order to evaluate the TerraSAR-X data for different modes and for a both climatically and topographically representative set of glaciers and ice caps data of all three modes are required for four test regions:
- Valais, Swiss Alps (Gruben, Aletsch)
- Southern Norway (Hardanger, Jothunheimen/Jostedal)
- Northern Norway (Svartisen, Blamann)
- Svalbard (North-west, Austfonna)
ScanSAR and StripMap data will be required for the entire study regions, Spotlight data for specific sites, which will be defined according to actual field work and needs (e.g. hazards). All data for summer.

- Description of geometric and physical characteristics and performance of TerraSAR-X data (all three modes) for glaciers under different conditions.
- Investigation of promising techniques for merging of TerraSAR-X data with other data and methods.
- Recommendations on if and how TerraSAR-X data (and comparable data) may be included in regional and global operational glacier monitoring.
- Publications in conference proceedings and international journals.

- Personnel (PI and Co-I), hard- and software required for the study will be provided under the ordinary budget of the PI and Co-I.
- It is planned to develop an additional funding source for 1-2 PhD students (Norwegian Science Foundation).

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