Low resolution optical remote sensing applied to the monitoring of glaciers mass balance.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Philippe Maisongrande1, Vanessa Drolon2, Etienne Berthier3, Else Swinnen4, Sara Verbeiren4, Walter Debruyn4 and Adalbert Arsen2, (1)CNES French National Center for Space Studies, Toulouse Cedex 09, France, (2)CNRS, LEGOS, Touolouse, France, (3)CNRS - Legos, Toulouse, France, (4)VITO, Mol, Belgium
At global scale, the mass loss of glaciers (outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets)
strongly impacts the total sea level rise and, in a few dry regions, the water resource. Low resolution
optical remote sensing is an alternative tool to estimate empirically the regional glacier mass
balance and could complement in situ measurements (limited to a few easy-to-access glaciers) and
High Resolution Imagery (inappropriate in term of temporal resolution for DEM differencing and
geographic coverage for the snow-line method).
Spectral signature of snow makes possible the calculation of a Normalized Difference Snow Index
computed from visible and SWIR channels available with SPOT/VEGETATION. The dynamic of
this Index is directly linked to the area percentage of snow in the kilometric pixel. On the basis of
the 14 years SPOT/VGT archive (1998-2012), the year to year dynamic of the NDSI is shown to be
correlated with the inter-annual variability of glaciers mass balance.