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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(7), 575; doi:10.3390/rs8070575

Glacier Remote Sensing Using Sentinel-2. Part II: Mapping Glacier Extents and Surface Facies, and Comparison to Landsat 8

1
Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
2
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3
ENVEO IT GmbH, ICT—Technologiepark, Technikerstr. 21a, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 29 April 2016 / Revised: 23 June 2016 / Accepted: 25 June 2016 / Published: 7 July 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [8191 KB, uploaded 22 July 2016]   |  

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sentinel-2; Landsat 8; glacier mapping; band ratio; spatial resolution; glacier facies Sentinel-2; Landsat 8; glacier mapping; band ratio; spatial resolution; glacier facies
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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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Paul, F.; Winsvold, S.H.; Kääb, A.; Nagler, T.; Schwaizer, G. Glacier Remote Sensing Using Sentinel-2. Part II: Mapping Glacier Extents and Surface Facies, and Comparison to Landsat 8. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 575.

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