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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 187;

Reflectance–Elevation Relationships and Their Seasonal Patterns over Twelve Glaciers in Western China Based on Landsat 8 Data

Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100094 Beijing, China
Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100101 Beijing, China
School of Civil Engineering, Beijing Jiaotong University, 100044 Beijing, China
School of Geosciences and Info-Physics, Central South University, 410083 Changsha, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Frank Paul, Kate Briggs, Robert McNabb, Christopher Nuth, Jan Wuite, Xiaofeng Li and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Glaciers)
Full-Text   |   PDF [10767 KB, uploaded 23 February 2017]   |  


Albedo/reflectance is of great importance for glaciers’ mass balance and energy budget. Elevation could be a major factor of influence for glacier reflectance, and therefore when studying glacier reflectance, the altitude ranges should be considered. However, due to the limitations of traditional earth observation systems, conventional analyses usually consider the spatial and temporal patterns of the reflectance average, which is severely restricted. The launch of Landsat-8 gives us the opportunity to study the seasonal glacier reflectance–elevation relationship. We have obtained the monthly near-nadir reflectance per 100 m for twelve glaciers in western China based on 372 scenes of Landsat 8 images acquired from April 2013 to December 2015. Variations of monthly broadband reflectance, reflectance–elevation relationships and reflectance gradients are analyzed and discussed. The results show that the linear trend of the reflectance–elevation relationship (when the altitude is less than 6100 m) is very significant; elevation has greater influence than location on seasonal reflectance variations; and the level of glacier reflectance gradient may relate with its climate. This may be the first work that has used remote-sensing data to analyze seasonal glacier reflectance–elevation patterns. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacier monitoring; Landsat-8; glacier reflectance–elevation relationship glacier monitoring; Landsat-8; glacier reflectance–elevation relationship

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Li, X.; Wu, W.; Xu, B.; Yin, S.; Yang, R.; Cheng, S. Reflectance–Elevation Relationships and Their Seasonal Patterns over Twelve Glaciers in Western China Based on Landsat 8 Data. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 187.

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