Presentation

Theia Glaciers Scientific Expertise Centre (SEC) gathers together teams from OSUG and IGE who are developing a product measuring the altitude of the annual glacier equilibrium line, calculated at the end of the ablation period for all glaciers on a regional scale using optical spatial remote sensing.

The users are R&D (input glaciological data for the study of the climate/glacier relationship and for glacio-hydrological modelling), industry (hydropower producers) and local authorities including National Parks (monitoring glacier evolution).

The data used come from Sentinel-2, Landsat 5/8, ASTER and Spot-6/7.

The Altitude of glacier equilibrium line product proposed by the Glaciers SEC has an annual update frequency. It covers nearly 240 glaciers in the European Alps.

Evolution of the snow line on the Glacier Blanc (Écrins massif, France) during the 2016 summer season, between July 6 and October 12.
Evolution of the snow line on the Glacier Blanc (Écrins massif, France) during the 2016 summer season, between July 6 and October 12.
To facilitate identification of the snow line, a combination of spectral bands was used: green, near-infrared and mid-infrared showing ice in dark blue, snow in very light blue, and bedrock and vegetation in more natural colours (green and brown respectively). The images shown were acquired by the LANDSAT-8 (*) and Sentinel-2 (+) satellites. The maximum altitude reached by the snow line is used as an indicator of the altitude of the glacier equilibrium line; in this example, it is reached between September 2 and 8.
Illustration from the doctoral thesis of Lucas Davaze (2019, http://www.theses.fr/2019GREAU022)

Schedule

  • 2018: finalization of the automated data processing chain and validation of the product “altitude of the annual glacier equilibrium line” for the glaciers of the French Alps for the period 2000-2016
  • 2019: validation of the product on the scale of the European Alps for the period 2000-2016
  • Spring – Summer 2020: Availability of the product “Altitude of the annual glacier equilibrium line for 239 glaciers in the European Alps for the period 2000-2016”.
  • 2021: optimization of the processing chain, link with MAJA, integration into a CNES production system

Contact

Antoine Rabatel

Antoine Rabatel
Université Grenoble Alpes | IGE
@A.Rabatel