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Article

Mapping Three Decades of Changes in the Tropical Andean Glaciers Using Landsat Data Processed in the Earth Engine

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Instituto del Bien Común (IBC), Lima 15072, Peru
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Programa de Doctorado en Recursos Hídricos (PDRH), Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima 15024, Peru
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Fundación EcoCiencia, Quito 170517, Ecuador
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Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN), Santa Cruz 2241, Bolivia
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Earth Observation and Geoinformatics Division, National Institute for Space Research, São José dos Campos 12227-010, Brazil
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Subdirección de Información y Análisis (SDIA), Instituto de Investigación en Glaciares y Ecosistemas de Montaña (INAIGEM), Ancash 02001, Peru
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Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia (Imazon), Belem 66055-200, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alberto Godio
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(9), 1974; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14091974
Received: 16 March 2022 / Revised: 11 April 2022 / Accepted: 19 April 2022 / Published: 20 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Remote Sensing in South America)
The fast retreat of the tropical Andean glaciers (TAGs) is considered an important indicator of climate change impact on the tropics, since the TAGs provide resources to highly vulnerable mountain populations. This study aims to reconstruct the glacier coverage of the TAGs, using Landsat time-series images from 1985 to 2020, by digitally processing and classifying satellite images in the Google Earth Engine platform. We used annual reductions of the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) and spectral bands to capture the pixels with minimum snow cover. We also implemented temporal and spatial filters to have comparable maps at a multitemporal level and reduce noise and temporal inconsistencies. The results of the multitemporal analysis of this study confirm the recent and dramatic recession of the TAGs in the last three decades, in base to physical and statistical significance. The TAGs reduced from 2429.38 km2 to 1409.11 km2 between 1990 and 2020, representing a loss of 42% of the total glacier area. In addition, the time-series analysis showed more significant losses at altitudes below 5000 masl, and differentiated changes by slope, latitude, and longitude. We found a more significant percentage loss of glacier areas in countries with less coverage. The multiannual validation showed accuracy values of 92.81%, 96.32%, 90.32%, 97.56%, and 88.54% for the metrics F1 score, accuracy, kappa, precision, and recall, respectively. The results are an essential contribution to understanding the TAGs and guiding policies to mitigate climate change and the potential negative impact of freshwater shortage on the inhabitants and food production in the Andean region. View Full-Text
Keywords: Andean; glacier retreat; climate change; MapBiomas; Google Earth Engine Andean; glacier retreat; climate change; MapBiomas; Google Earth Engine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Turpo Cayo, E.Y.; Borja, M.O.; Espinoza-Villar, R.; Moreno, N.; Camargo, R.; Almeida, C.; Hopfgartner, K.; Yarleque, C.; Souza, C.M., Jr. Mapping Three Decades of Changes in the Tropical Andean Glaciers Using Landsat Data Processed in the Earth Engine. Remote Sens. 2022, 14, 1974. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14091974

AMA Style

Turpo Cayo EY, Borja MO, Espinoza-Villar R, Moreno N, Camargo R, Almeida C, Hopfgartner K, Yarleque C, Souza CM Jr. Mapping Three Decades of Changes in the Tropical Andean Glaciers Using Landsat Data Processed in the Earth Engine. Remote Sensing. 2022; 14(9):1974. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14091974

Chicago/Turabian Style

Turpo Cayo, Efrain Yury, Maria Olga Borja, Raul Espinoza-Villar, Nicole Moreno, Rodney Camargo, Claudia Almeida, Kathrin Hopfgartner, Christian Yarleque, and Carlos M. Souza Jr. 2022. "Mapping Three Decades of Changes in the Tropical Andean Glaciers Using Landsat Data Processed in the Earth Engine" Remote Sensing 14, no. 9: 1974. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14091974

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