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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(10), 9239-9259; doi:10.3390/rs6109239

Estimating Spatial and Temporal Variability in Surface Kinematics of the Inylchek Glacier, Central Asia, using TerraSAR–X Data

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 1.4 Remote Sensing, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
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Received: 25 February 2014 / Revised: 12 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 September 2014 / Published: 26 September 2014
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Abstract

We use 124 scenes of TerraSAR–X data that were acquired in 2009 and 2010 to analyse the spatial and temporal variability in surface kinematics of the debris-covered Inylchek Glacier, located in the Tien Shan mountain range in Central Asia. By applying the feature tracking method to the intensity information of the radar data and combining the results from the ascending and descending orbits, we derive the surface velocity field of the glaciated area. Analysing the seasonal variations over the upper part of the Southern Inylchek branch, we find a temperature-related increase in velocity from 25 cm/d up to 50 cm/d between spring and summer, with the peak occurring in June. Another prominent velocity peak is observable one month later in the lower part of the Southern Inylchek branch. This area shows generally little motion, with values of approximately 5–10 cm/d over the year, but yields surface kinematics of up to 25 cm/d during the peak period. Comparisons of the dates of annual glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) of the proglacial Lake Merzbacher suggest that this lower part is directly influenced by the drainage, leading to the observed mini-surge, which has over twice the normal displacement rate. With regard to the GLOF and the related response of Inylchek Glacier, we conclude that X–band radar systems such as TerraSAR–X have a high potential for detecting and characterising small-scale glacial surface kinematic variations and should be considered for future inter-annual glacial monitoring tasks. View Full-Text
Keywords: Inylchek glacier; TerraSAR-X; feature tracking; seasonal surface kinematics; glacial lake outburst flood Inylchek glacier; TerraSAR-X; feature tracking; seasonal surface kinematics; glacial lake outburst flood
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Neelmeijer, J.; Motagh, M.; Wetzel, H.-U. Estimating Spatial and Temporal Variability in Surface Kinematics of the Inylchek Glacier, Central Asia, using TerraSAR–X Data. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 9239-9259.

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