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Glacier remote sensing using Sentinel-2. Part II: Mapping glacier extents and surface facies, and comparison to Landsat 8


Paul, Frank; Winsvold, Solveig H; Kääb, Andreas; Nagler, Thomas; Schwaizer, Gabriele (2016). Glacier remote sensing using Sentinel-2. Part II: Mapping glacier extents and surface facies, and comparison to Landsat 8. Remote Sensing, 8(7):575.

Abstract

Mapping of glacier extents from automated classification of optical satellite images has become a major application of the freely available images from Landsat. A widely applied method is based on segmented ratio images from a red and shortwave infrared band. With the now available data from Sentinel-2 (S2) and Landsat 8 (L8) there is high potential to further extend the existing time series (starting with Landsat 4/5 in 1982) and to considerably improve over previous capabilities, thanks to increased spatial resolution and dynamic range, a wider swath width and more frequent coverage. Here, we test and compare a variety of previously used methods to map glacier extents from S2 and L8, and investigate the mapping of snow facies with S2 using top of atmosphere reflectance. Our results confirm that the band ratio method works well with S2 and L8. The 15 m panchromatic band of L8 can be used instead of the red band, resulting in glacier extents similar to S2 (0.7% larger for 155 glaciers). On the other hand, extents derived from the 30 m bands are 4%–5% larger, indicating a more generous interpretation of mixed pixels. Mapping of snow cover with S2 provided accurate results, but the required topographic correction would benefit from a better orthorectification with a more precise DEM than currently used.

Abstract

Mapping of glacier extents from automated classification of optical satellite images has become a major application of the freely available images from Landsat. A widely applied method is based on segmented ratio images from a red and shortwave infrared band. With the now available data from Sentinel-2 (S2) and Landsat 8 (L8) there is high potential to further extend the existing time series (starting with Landsat 4/5 in 1982) and to considerably improve over previous capabilities, thanks to increased spatial resolution and dynamic range, a wider swath width and more frequent coverage. Here, we test and compare a variety of previously used methods to map glacier extents from S2 and L8, and investigate the mapping of snow facies with S2 using top of atmosphere reflectance. Our results confirm that the band ratio method works well with S2 and L8. The 15 m panchromatic band of L8 can be used instead of the red band, resulting in glacier extents similar to S2 (0.7% larger for 155 glaciers). On the other hand, extents derived from the 30 m bands are 4%–5% larger, indicating a more generous interpretation of mixed pixels. Mapping of snow cover with S2 provided accurate results, but the required topographic correction would benefit from a better orthorectification with a more precise DEM than currently used.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:11 Nov 2016 12:56
Last Modified:02 Feb 2018 10:40
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2072-4292
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8070575

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