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The New Swiss Glacier Inventory 2000

Year of publication 2003
Author(s) Frank Paul
Place of publication Zürich
Number of pages 213
Language en
ISBN/ISSN 3 85543 248 1
Page(s) 213
Publication type Thesis
Glacier changes are among the best natural indicators of climatic change. The time since the compilation of the last Swiss glacier inventory in 1973 has been characterized by significant glacier changes which are now assessed by a new inventory. Application of high-resolution (20 m), multispectral satellite data in combination with a Geographic Information System and a digital elevation model, enables automated glacier inventorying and efficient data processing. The main focus of this work is to compile and evaluate the methods required for glacier inventorying from satellite data. Thereby, this work also serves as a pilot study for the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project which aims at a global glacier inventory from spaceborne sensors. The main results of this work are: - A simple method (thresholded ratio images from Thematic Mapper (TM) bands 4 and 5) provides the best results for glacier mapping. However, pre- and post-processing of satellite data is time consuming (e.g. orthorectification, glacier basin delineation). - Glaciers in Switzerland lost nearly 20% of their area from 1985 to 1998. This gives a seven-times higher decadal loss rate as compared to the period 1850 to 1973. - Small glaciers have contributed disproportional to the total loss of glacier area.- Glacier behaviour is spatially very heterogeneous and there is strong evidence for down-wasting.