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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(8), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11080933

Deriving Regional Snow Line Dynamics during the Ablation Seasons 1984–2018 in European Mountains

1
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Muenchener Strasse 20, D-82234 Wessling, Germany
2
Department of Remote Sensing, Institute of Geography and Geology, University of Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Wuerzburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 13 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Remote Sensing for Physical Geography)
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Abstract

Snowmelt in the mid-latitude European mountains is undergoing significant spatiotemporal changes. Regional snow line elevation (RSLE) is an appropriate indicator for assessing snow cover variations in mountain areas. To derive regional snow line dynamics during the ablation seasons 1984–2018, the present study unprecedentedly introduced a readily applicable framework. The framework constitutes four steps: atmospheric and topographic correction, snow classification, RSLE retrieval, and regional snow line retreat curve (RSLRC) derivation. The developed framework has been successfully applied to 8641 satellite images acquired by Landsat, ASTER, and Sentinel-2. The results of the intra-annual regional snow line variations show that: (1) regional snow lines in the Alpine catchments preserve the longest; (2) RSLEs are lower in the northern Pyrenees than in the southern part; (3) regional snow lines persist the shortest in the Carpathian catchments; and (4) during the end of the ablation season 2018, intermediate snowfall events in the catchments Adda, Tagliamento, and Uzh are observed. In terms of the long-term inter-annual variations, significantly accelerating snow line recession is detected in the northern Pyrenean catchment Ariege. In the Alpine catchment Alpenrhein and Drac, RSLRCs are shifting towards lower accumulated air-temperature (AT) significantly, with the magnitude of −3.77 °C·a−1 (Alpenrhein) and −3.99 °C·a−1 (Drac). View Full-Text
Keywords: snow line dynamics; European mountains; ablation season; regional snow line elevation (RSLE); regional snow line retreat curves (RSLRCs); M-estimation; Landsat; ASTER; Sentinel-2; time-series snow line dynamics; European mountains; ablation season; regional snow line elevation (RSLE); regional snow line retreat curves (RSLRCs); M-estimation; Landsat; ASTER; Sentinel-2; time-series
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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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Hu, Z.; Dietz, A.J.; Kuenzer, C. Deriving Regional Snow Line Dynamics during the Ablation Seasons 1984–2018 in European Mountains. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 933.

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