Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
07 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Using SAR satellite data time-series for regional glacier mapping
Solveig H. Winsvold1, Andreas Kääb1, Christopher Nuth1, Liss M. Andreassen2, Ward van Pelt3, and Thomas Schellenberger1 1Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
2Section for Glaciers, Ice and Snow, Hydrology Department, Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, P.O. Box 5091 Majorstua, 0301 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villav. 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
Abstract. With dense SAR satellite data time-series it is possible to map surface and subsurface glacier properties that vary in time. On Sentinel-1A and Radarsat-2 backscatter images over mainland Norway and Svalbard, we have used descriptive methods for outlining the possibilities of using SAR time-series for mapping glaciers. We present five application scenarios, where the first shows potential for tracking transient snow lines with SAR backscatter time-series, and correlates with both optical satellite images (Sentinel-2A and Landsat 8) and equilibrium line altitudes derived from in situ surface mass balance data. In the second application scenario, time-series representation of glacier facies corresponding to SAR glacier zones shows potential for a more accurate delineation of the zones and how they change in time. The third application scenario investigates the firn evolution using dense SAR backscatter time-series together with a coupled energy balance and multi-layer firn model. We find strong correlation between backscatter signals with both the modeled firn air-content and modeled wetness in the firn. In the fourth application scenario, we highlight how winter rain events can be detected in SAR time-series, revealing important information about the area extent of internal accumulation. Finally, in the last application scenario, averaged summer SAR images were found to have potential in assisting the process of mapping glaciers outlines, especially in the presence of seasonal snow. Altogether we present examples of how to map glaciers and to further understand glaciological processes using the existing and future massive amount of multi-sensor time-series data. Our results reveal the potential of satellite imagery for automatically derived products as important input in modeling assessments and glacier change analysis.

Citation: Winsvold, S. H., Kääb, A., Nuth, C., Andreassen, L. M., van Pelt, W., and Schellenberger, T.: Using SAR satellite data time-series for regional glacier mapping, The Cryosphere Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Solveig H. Winsvold et al.
Solveig H. Winsvold et al.
Solveig H. Winsvold et al.


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