Special Issue "Cryosphere II"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kamp
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Natural Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Rd., 114 Science Faculty Center, Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
Interests: cryosphere; environmental change; hazards; human–environment interactions; mountains
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This first special issue “Cryosphere” of Geosciences (2017/2018) included thirteen papers that shed light on a diverse list of ice- and snow-related topics: alpine glaciers, glacial lakes, GLOFs, permafrost, sea ice, snow cover, ice cores, and cryosols. They present results and conclusions from the Alborz, Alpen, Altai, Tien Shan, and Himalaya mountains; from the Arctic and Antarctica; and from the tundra of Russia and the taiga of Finland. The second volume “Cryosphere II” is a continuation of this reporting on our ever-changing cryosphere and has the same focus: it aims to present the diversity within the field and state-of-the-art research on glaciers, ice sheets, permafrost, sea ice, and snow cover. It also seeks to display a wide range of regional studies and methodological approaches such as laboratory experiments, field measurements and observations, numerical modeling, and remote sensing. Contributions on the interactions between the cryosphere and other elements of the geosystem (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) are of particular interest, as are applied aspects related to the cryosphere, for example, natural hazards, hydropower, water resources, and artificial glaciation. Last, but not least, the Special Issue allows for stretching our imagination beyond Earth, and welcomes new insights into the cryospheres of other planets.

Prof. Ulrich Kamp
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Glaciers
  • Ice sheets
  • Permafrost
  • Sea ice
  • Snow cover
  • Cryosphere and natural hazards
  • Cryosphere and hydropower
  • Cryosphere and water resources
  • Planetary ice

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Potential of Low-Cost UAVs and Open-Source Photogrammetry Software for High-Resolution Monitoring of Alpine Glaciers: A Case Study from the Kanderfirn (Swiss Alps)
Geosciences 2019, 9(8), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9080356 - 12 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are a rapidly evolving tool in geosciences and are increasingly deployed for studying the dynamic processes of the earth’s surface. To assess the potential of autonomous low-cost UAVs for the mapping and monitoring of alpine glaciers, we conducted multiple [...] Read more.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are a rapidly evolving tool in geosciences and are increasingly deployed for studying the dynamic processes of the earth’s surface. To assess the potential of autonomous low-cost UAVs for the mapping and monitoring of alpine glaciers, we conducted multiple aerial surveys on the Kanderfirn in the Swiss Alps in 2017 and 2018 using open hardware and software of the Paparazzi UAV project. The open-source photogrammetry software OpenDroneMap was tested for the generation of high-resolution orthophotos and digital surface models (DSMs) from aerial imagery and cross-checked with the well-established proprietary software Pix4D. Accurately measured ground control points served for the determination of the geometric accuracy of the orthophotos and DSMs. A horizontal (xy) accuracy of 0.7–1.2 m and a vertical (z) accuracy of 0.7–2.1 m was achieved for OpenDroneMap, compared to a xy-accuracy of 0.3–0.5 m and a z-accuracy of 0.4–0.5 m obtained for Pix4D. Based on the analysis and comparison of different orthophotos and DSMs, surface elevation, roughness and brightness changes from 3 June to 29 September 2018 were quantified. While the brightness of the glacier surface decreased linearly over the ablation season, the surface roughness increased. The mean DSM-based elevation change across the glacier tongue was 8 m, overestimating the measured melting and surface lowering at the installed ablation stakes by about 1.5 m. The presented results highlight that self-built fixed-wing UAVs in tandem with open-source photogrammetry software are an affordable alternative to commercial remote-sensing platforms and proprietary software. The applied low-cost approach also provides great potential for other regions and geoscientific disciplines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessArticle
The Components of the Glacial Runoff of the Tsambagarav Massif from Stable Water Isotope Data
Geosciences 2019, 9(7), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9070297 - 05 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of snow and glacial ice to the river fluxes, and to identify the type of ice formation in the Tsambagarav massif (the northwestern part of Mongolia). The main method for this study was [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of snow and glacial ice to the river fluxes, and to identify the type of ice formation in the Tsambagarav massif (the northwestern part of Mongolia). The main method for this study was isotopic analysis of water samples. The isotopic separation showed that the shares of the main components in the total runoff differed for different rivers of the massif. Alongside with that, glacial meltwater prevailed in all the investigated fluxes. The share of snow and firn in the meltwater coming from the surface of the large valley glaciers in the middle of the ablation season in 2017 changed by only 10%—from 20% to 30%. Thus, further reduction of glaciation caused by global climate change could significantly affect the water balance of the study area. The isotopic composition of glacial ice proves that its alimentation primarily comes from precipitation during the transitional seasons. Superimposed ice is not the basis for nourishment of the glaciers of the Tsambagarav massif. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessArticle
Glacier Dynamics in Changme Khangpu Basin, Sikkim Himalaya, India, between 1975 and 2016
Geosciences 2019, 9(6), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9060259 - 10 Jun 2019
Abstract
This study provides a high resolution glacier database in the Changme Khangpu Basin (CKB) using LANDSAT 8 (2014) and Sentinel-2A image (2016), mapping of 81 glaciers that cover a 75.78 ± 1.54 km2 area. Composite maps of land surface temperature, slope and [...] Read more.
This study provides a high resolution glacier database in the Changme Khangpu Basin (CKB) using LANDSAT 8 (2014) and Sentinel-2A image (2016), mapping of 81 glaciers that cover a 75.78 ± 1.54 km2 area. Composite maps of land surface temperature, slope and Normalized differential Snow Index have been successfully utilized in delineating near accurate debris cover boundary of glaciers. The cumulative controlling parameters of aspect, elevation, slope, and debris cover have been assessed to evaluate the nature of glacier distribution and dynamics. The local topographic settings seem to have significantly determined the glacier distribution in the CKB. Almost 20% area erstwhile under glacier cover has been lost since 1975 at an average rate of −0.453 ± 0.001 km2a−1. The recent decade (2001–2016) has witnessed a higher rate of area shrinkage (−0.665 ± 0.243 km2a−1), compared to a relatively lower rate of recession (−0.170 ± 0.536 km2a−1) between 1988 and 2001. The lower rates of glacial recession can most likely be induced regionally due to relatively cooler decadal late summer temperatures and peak in the monsoon spell. Glaciers with western and north-western aspects showed more vulnerability to area loss than the rest of the aspects. Lower altitude glaciers have receded faster than ones perched up on higher elevations. The rate of glacier area recession has been nearly twice that on clean glaciers as compared to debris-covered glaciers in the CKB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessArticle
Permafrost Degradation within Eastern Chukotka CALM Sites in the 21st Century Based on CMIP5 Climate Models
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050232 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Permafrost degradation caused by contemporary climate change significantly affects arctic regions. Active layer thickening combined with the thaw subsidence of ice-rich sediments leads to irreversible transformation of permafrost conditions and activation of exogenous processes, such as active layer detachment, thermokarst and thermal erosion. [...] Read more.
Permafrost degradation caused by contemporary climate change significantly affects arctic regions. Active layer thickening combined with the thaw subsidence of ice-rich sediments leads to irreversible transformation of permafrost conditions and activation of exogenous processes, such as active layer detachment, thermokarst and thermal erosion. Climatic and permafrost models combined with a field monitoring dataset enable the provision of predicted estimations of the active layer and permafrost characteristics. In this paper, we present the projections of active layer thickness and thaw subsidence values for two Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) sites of Eastern Chukotka coastal plains. The calculated parameters were used for estimation of permafrost degradation rates in this region for the 21st century under various IPCC climate change scenarios. According to the studies, by the end of the century, the active layer will be 6–13% thicker than current values under the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) 2.6 climate scenario and 43–87% under RCP 8.5. This process will be accompanied by thaw subsidence with the rates of 0.4–3.7 cm∙a−1. Summarized surface level lowering will have reached up to 5 times more than current active layer thickness. Total permafrost table lowering by the end of the century will be from 150 to 310 cm; however, it will not lead to non-merging permafrost formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessArticle
Appraisal of Temporal Transferability of Cold Region Winter Weather Traffic Models for Major Highway Segments in Alberta Canada
Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030137 - 21 Mar 2019
Abstract
This paper evaluates the effect of inclement weather conditions on the travel demand for three classes of vehicles for a primary highway in the province of Alberta, Canada. The demand variables are passenger cars, trucks, and total traffic. It is well known from [...] Read more.
This paper evaluates the effect of inclement weather conditions on the travel demand for three classes of vehicles for a primary highway in the province of Alberta, Canada. The demand variables are passenger cars, trucks, and total traffic. It is well known from previous studies that adverse weather conditions such as low temperatures and heavy snowfall cause variation in traffic flow patterns. A winter weather model, based on the dummy variable regression model, was developed to quantify the variations in traffic volume due to snowfall and temperature changes. To establish the relationships, vehicular data was collected from six weigh-in-motion (WIM) sites, and the weather data associated with the WIM sites was collected from nearby weather stations. The study revealed that the variation in truck traffic, due to inclement weather conditions, was insignificant compared to variation in passenger car traffic. This study also investigated the temporal transferability of the developed winter weather model to test if a model can be applied irrespective of the time when it was developed. In addition, an attempt was made to check if the model coefficients could be optimized differently for different classes of traffic for estimating correct traffic variations. To evaluate transferability, the performance of both dummy variable regression and naive (without dummy variables) models was investigated. The results revealed that the dummy variable regression models show better performance for passenger car traffic and total traffic and naive winter weather models give better results for truck traffic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessArticle
Northern Hemisphere Snow-Cover Trends (1967–2018): A Comparison between Climate Models and Observations
Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030135 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Observed changes in Northern Hemisphere snow cover from satellite records were compared to those predicted by all available Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (“CMIP5”) climate models over the duration of the satellite’s records, i.e., 1967–2018. A total of 196 climate model runs [...] Read more.
Observed changes in Northern Hemisphere snow cover from satellite records were compared to those predicted by all available Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (“CMIP5”) climate models over the duration of the satellite’s records, i.e., 1967–2018. A total of 196 climate model runs were analyzed (taken from 24 climate models). Separate analyses were conducted for the annual averages and for each of the seasons (winter, spring, summer, and autumn/fall). A longer record (1922–2018) for the spring season which combines ground-based measurements with satellite measurements was also compared to the model outputs. The climate models were found to poorly explain the observed trends. While the models suggest snow cover should have steadily decreased for all four seasons, only spring and summer exhibited a long-term decrease, and the pattern of the observed decreases for these seasons was quite different from the modelled predictions. Moreover, the observed trends for autumn and winter suggest a long-term increase, although these trends were not statistically significant. Possible explanations for the poor performance of the climate models are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Global Disappearance of Tropical Mountain Glaciers: Observations, Causes, and Challenges
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050196 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This article reviews the current status of tropical glaciers in the South American Andes, East Africa, and Australasia by shedding light on past, present, and future glacier coverage in the tropics, the influence of global and regional climates on the tropical glaciers, the [...] Read more.
This article reviews the current status of tropical glaciers in the South American Andes, East Africa, and Australasia by shedding light on past, present, and future glacier coverage in the tropics, the influence of global and regional climates on the tropical glaciers, the regional importance of these glaciers, and challenges of ongoing glacier recessions. While tropical glaciers have predominantly receded since the Little Ice Age, the rate of shrinkage has accelerated since the late 1970s as a result of climate changes. As a result, socio-ecological implications occur around ecosystem health, natural hazards, freshwater resources, agriculture, hydropower, mining, human and animal health, traditions and spirituality, and peace. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessReview
The Top-Viewed Cryosphere Videos on YouTube: An Overview
Geosciences 2019, 9(4), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9040181 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Youtube.com has become one of the most popular places to share videos on the Internet, storing a large amount of audiovisual materials. People all over the world can upload their videos and watch videos of others. The research potential of this information source [...] Read more.
Youtube.com has become one of the most popular places to share videos on the Internet, storing a large amount of audiovisual materials. People all over the world can upload their videos and watch videos of others. The research potential of this information source has received increasing popularity across scientific disciplines. In this contribution, we explore the top viewed videos containing selected cryospheric keywords, both general (cryosphere, glacier, ice, permafrost, snow), and specific, focusing on different types of cryospheric hazards (avalanche, blizzard and glacial lake outburst flood/jokulhlaup). Searching 100 top-viewed videos for each keyword, our database consists of 859 videos. Each video is described by several qualitative characteristics (e.g., video type, geographical focus) as well as quantitative characteristics (e.g., views per day, likes). A total of 310 videos in our database (36.1% of all) are classified as videos with factual cryospheric content. We show that the broader audience represented by YouTube users is particularly interested in videos capturing dynamic processes such as calving of glaciers. While videos found for general cryosphere keywords have attracted a generally higher attention of YouTube users (total views), videos found for specific keywords are ranked among the most liked. Further, we analyze where the videos with cryospheric content are filmed, revealing several hotspots for different keywords located in all continents except for Africa. Finally, we discuss the potentials of cryosphere videos for educational and research purposes, pointing out that videos filmed by incidental witnesses of low-frequency processes such as glacial lake outburst floods might contribute to the elucidation of their dynamics, magnitude and behavior as well as the occurrence in space and time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessReview
Satellite SAR Data-based Sea Ice Classification: An Overview
Geosciences 2019, 9(4), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9040152 - 31 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
A review of the main approaches developed for sea ice classification using satellite imagery is presented. Satellite data are the main and very often only information source for sea ice classification and charting in the remote arctic regions. The main techniques used for [...] Read more.
A review of the main approaches developed for sea ice classification using satellite imagery is presented. Satellite data are the main and very often only information source for sea ice classification and charting in the remote arctic regions. The main techniques used for ice classification and ice charting in several national ice services are considered. Advantages and disadvantages of various SAR data-based methods for ice classification are analyzed. It is shown that an increase of SAR technical abilities contributes to the enhancement of sea ice classification reliability. The possible further development of satellite data-based methods for ice classification is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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