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Glacier-surface velocities in alpine terrain from optical satellite imagery - Accuracy improvement and quality assessment

Scherler, Dirk and Leprince, Sébastien and Strecker, Manfred R. (2008) Glacier-surface velocities in alpine terrain from optical satellite imagery - Accuracy improvement and quality assessment. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112 (10). pp. 3806-3819. ISSN 0034-4257. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2008.05.018.

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The worldwide retreat of mountain glaciers has important consequences for the water, food, and power supply of large and densely populated areas in South and Central Asia. Successful mitigation of the hydrological impacts on societies as well as assessing glacier-related hazards require large-scale monitoring of glacier dynamics. However, detailed glaciological data from the Asian highlands are lacking, due to its size and difficult accessibility. We have applied a novel technique for precise orthorectification, co-registration, and sub-pixel correlation of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite imagery to derive surface velocities of Himalayan glaciers. Our approach allows for the correction of offsets due to attitude effects and sensor distortions, as well as elevation errors if a digital elevation model (DEM) from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) was used for orthorectification. After post-processing, the error on the displacements is on the order of 2–4 m per correlation. Translated into annual velocities, this error is reduced (increased) when the correlated images are more (less) than a year apart. Through application of a filtering procedure and several quality tests, the consistency of the results is validated to provide confidence in the remotely sensed velocity measurements, despite the lack of ground control. This novel approach allows fast, easy, and economically viable acquisition of detailed glaciological data in areas of difficult access and provides a means for large-scale monitoring of glaciers in high mountainous terrain.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Scherler, Dirk0000-0003-3911-2803
Leprince, Sébastien0000-0003-4555-8975
Additional Information:© 2008 Elsevier Inc. Received 11 March 2008; revised 19 May 2008; accepted 31 May 2008. Available online 15 August 2008. This research was funded by a scholarship to D.S. as part of the German Research Council (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) graduate school GRK1364. ASTER imagery were provided to M.R.S. by the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center User Services, Sioux Falls, SD, U.S.A. We greatly appreciate the constructive comments by three anonymous reviewers that helped improve an earlier version of this manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
German Research CouncilGRK1364
Subject Keywords:mountain glaciers; glacier velocity; himalaya; optical imagery; orthorectification; co-registration; COSI-Corr; ASTER; SRTM-error
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:SCHErse08
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13543
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 May 2009 15:34
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:38

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