Special Issue "Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 8 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ingo Sasgen
Website
Guest Editor
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
Interests: ice sheet mass balance; sea level change; glacial isostatic adjustment; GRACE/GRACE-FO; data combination; joint inversion; surface mass balance, ice dynamics; climate drivers
Dr. Dana Floricioiu
Website
Guest Editor
German Aerospace Center (DLR), Remote Sensing Technology Institute, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling, Germany
Interests: ice flow dynamics; glacier mass balance; synthetic aperture radar; TanDEM-X; TerraSAR-X
Dr. Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Website
Guest Editor
DTU Space, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Interests: ice sheet mass balance; ice dynamics; radar and laser altimetry; CryoSat-2, ICESat-1 and ICESat-2, Cal/Val campaigns; firn compaction; surface processes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Mal McMillan
Website
Guest Editor
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, United Kingdom
Interests: SAR altimetry; ice sheets; glaciers; ice caps; CryoSat-2; Sentinel-3; mission concepts; retrieval algorithms; uncertainties

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are undergoing rapid change, currently contributing about one third—with increasing tendencies—to global mean sea-level rise [1]. Over the past three decades, satellite remote sensing has revolutionized our view of ice sheet behavior, enabling for example the precise quantification of the hot spots of ice loss, while providing new insights into the related controlling processes. Today, a suite of Earth observation data is available, targeting various characteristics of the ice sheets’ state and enabling the study of their interaction with the atmosphere, ocean, and solid Earth.

For this Special Issue, we welcome the submission of manuscripts addressing all aspects of the satellite remote sensing of ice sheets, ranging from mission design and advancing retrieval algorithms to the application of the data for understanding the impact of climate change on the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. We particularly invite contributions SAR and laser altimetry, SAR imagery, gravimetry, as well as optical and hyperspectral observations for an improved understanding of the evolution of ice sheets. We encourage submissions involving satellite data of the Sentinel missions, TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X, CryoSat-2, ICESat-1/2, GRACE/GRACE Follow On, as well as data combination approaches and the generation of historic time series, but we are open to related topics, such as results from airborne campaigns and Cal/Val activities.

We are looking forward to receiving manuscripts describing your new work.

Dr. Ingo Sasgen
Dr. Dana Floricioiu
Dr. Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Dr. Mal McMillan
Guest Editors

Reference

WCRP Global Sea Level Budget Group. Global sea-level budget 1993–present. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 2018, 10, 1551-1590. https://www.earth-syst-sci-data.net/10/1551/2018/essd-10-1551-2018.pdf

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets
  • ice sheet mass change
  • elevation and volume change
  • ice sheet geometry and extent
  • ice dynamics
  • surface processes
  • supra- und subglacial processes
  • bathymetry
  • Cal/Val activities
  • laser altimetry
  • radar altimetry
  • synthetic aperture radar
  • gravimetry
  • optical and hyperspectral remote sensing
  • advances in algorithm development
  • future mission design

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Perennial Supraglacial Lakes in Northeast Greenland Observed by Polarimetric SAR
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2798; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172798 - 28 Aug 2020
Abstract
Supraglacial liquid water at the margins of ice sheets has an important impact on the surface energy balance and can also influence the ice flow when supraglacial lakes drain to the bed. Optical imagery is able to monitor supraglacial lakes during the summer [...] Read more.
Supraglacial liquid water at the margins of ice sheets has an important impact on the surface energy balance and can also influence the ice flow when supraglacial lakes drain to the bed. Optical imagery is able to monitor supraglacial lakes during the summer season. Here we developed an alternative method using polarimetric SAR from Sentinel-1 during 2017–2020 to distinguish between liquid water and other surface types at the margin of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. This allows the supraglacial hydrology to be monitored during the winter months too. We found that the majority of supraglacial lakes persist over winter. When comparing our results to optical data, we found significantly more water. Even during summer, many lakes are partly or fully covered by a lid of ice and snow. We used our classification results to automatically map the outlines of supraglacial lakes, create time series of water area for each lake, and hence detect drainage events. We even found several winter time drainages, which might have an important effect on ice flow. Our method has problems during the peak of the melt season, but for the rest of the year it provides crucial information for better understanding the component of supraglacial hydrology in the glaciological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets)
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Open AccessArticle
Synergistic Use of Single-Pass Interferometry and Radar Altimetry to Measure Mass Loss of NEGIS Outlet Glaciers between 2011 and 2014
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(6), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12060996 - 19 Mar 2020
Abstract
Mass balances of individual glaciers on ice sheets have been previously reported by forming a mass budget of discharged ice and modelled ice sheet surface mass balance or a complementary method which measures volume changes over the glaciated area that are subsequently converted [...] Read more.
Mass balances of individual glaciers on ice sheets have been previously reported by forming a mass budget of discharged ice and modelled ice sheet surface mass balance or a complementary method which measures volume changes over the glaciated area that are subsequently converted to glacier mass change. On ice sheets, volume changes have been measured predominantly with radar and laser altimeters but InSAR DEM differencing has also been applied on smaller ice bodies. Here, we report for the first time on the synergistic use of volumetric measurements from the CryoSat-2 radar altimetry mission together with TanDEM-X DEM differencing and calculate the mass balance of the two major outlet glaciers of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream: Zachariæ Isstrøm and Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (79North). The glaciers lost 3.59 ± 1.15 G t a 1 and 1.01 ± 0.95 G t a 1 , respectively, between January 2011 and January 2014. Additionally, there has been substantial sub-aqueous mass loss on Zachariæ Isstrøm of more than 11 G t a 1 . We attribute the mass changes on both glaciers to dynamic downwasting. The presented methodology now permits using TanDEM-X bistatic InSAR data in the context of geodetic mass balance investigations for large ice sheet outlet glaciers. In the future, this will allow monitoring the mass changes of dynamic outlet glaciers with high spatial resolution while the superior vertical accuracy of CryoSat-2 can be used for the vast accumulation zones in the ice sheet interior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Penetration-Related X-Band InSAR Elevation Bias: A Study over the Greenland Ice Sheet
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(24), 2903; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11242903 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Accelerating melt on the Greenland ice sheet leads to dramatic changes at a global scale. Especially in the last decades, not only the monitoring, but also the quantification of these changes has gained considerably in importance. In this context, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar [...] Read more.
Accelerating melt on the Greenland ice sheet leads to dramatic changes at a global scale. Especially in the last decades, not only the monitoring, but also the quantification of these changes has gained considerably in importance. In this context, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) systems complement existing data sources by their capability to acquire 3D information at high spatial resolution over large areas independent of weather conditions and illumination. However, penetration of the SAR signals into the snow and ice surface leads to a bias in measured height, which has to be corrected to obtain accurate elevation data. Therefore, this study purposes an easy transferable pixel-based approach for X-band penetration-related elevation bias estimation based on single-pass interferometric coherence and backscatter intensity which was performed at two test sites on the Northern Greenland ice sheet. In particular, the penetration bias was estimated using a multiple linear regression model based on TanDEM-X InSAR data and IceBridge laser-altimeter measurements to correct TanDEM-X Digital Elevation Model (DEM) scenes. Validation efforts yielded good agreement between observations and estimations with a coefficient of determination of R2 = 68% and an RMSE of 0.68 m. Furthermore, the study demonstrates the benefits of X-band penetration bias estimation within the application context of ice sheet elevation change detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets)
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Open AccessArticle
Sub-Annual Calving Front Migration, Area Change and Calving Rates from Swath Mode CryoSat-2 Altimetry, on Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(23), 2761; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11232761 - 23 Nov 2019
Abstract
Mapping the time-variable calving front location (CFL) of Antarctic ice shelves is important for estimating the freshwater budget, as an indicator of changing ocean and structural conditions or as a precursor of dynamic instability. Here, we present a novel approach for deriving regular [...] Read more.
Mapping the time-variable calving front location (CFL) of Antarctic ice shelves is important for estimating the freshwater budget, as an indicator of changing ocean and structural conditions or as a precursor of dynamic instability. Here, we present a novel approach for deriving regular and consistent CFLs based on CryoSat-2 swath altimetry. The CFL detection is based on the premise that the shelf edge is usually characterized by a steep ice cliff, which is clearly resolved in the surface elevation data. Our method applies edge detection and vectorization of the sharp ice edge in gridded elevation data to generate vector shapefiles of the calving front. To show the feasibility of our approach, we derived a unique data set of ice-front positions for the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS) between 2011 and 2018 at a 200 m spatial resolution and biannual temporal frequency. The observed CFLs compare well with independently derived ice front positions from Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery and are used to calculate area change, advance rates, and iceberg calving rates. We measure an area increase of 810 ± 40 km2 a−1 for FRIS and calving rates of 9 ± 1 Gt a−1 and 7 ± 1 Gt a−1 for the Filchner and Ronne Ice Shelves, respectively, which is an order of magnitude smaller than their steady-state calving flux. Our findings demonstrate that the “elevation-edge” method is complementary to standard CFL detection techniques. Although at a reduced spatial resolution and less suitable for smaller glaciers in steep terrain, it enables to provide CFLs at regular intervals and to fill existing gaps in time and space. Moreover, the method simultaneously provides ice thickness, required for mass budget calculation, and has a degree of automation which removes the need for heavy manual intervention. In the future, altimetry data has the potential to deliver a systematic and continuous record of change in ice shelf calving front positions around Antarctica. This will greatly benefit the investigation of environmental forcing on ice flow and terminus dynamics by providing a valuable climate data record and improving our knowledge of the constraints for calving models and ice shelf freshwater budget. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets)
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Open AccessArticle
An Integrated View of Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Changes Based on Models and Satellite Observations
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(12), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11121407 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The Greenland ice sheet is a major contributor to sea level rise, adding on average 0.47 ± 0.23 mm year 1 to global mean sea level between 1991 and 2015. The cryosphere as a whole has contributed around 45% of observed global [...] Read more.
The Greenland ice sheet is a major contributor to sea level rise, adding on average 0.47 ± 0.23 mm year 1 to global mean sea level between 1991 and 2015. The cryosphere as a whole has contributed around 45% of observed global sea level rise since 1993. Understanding the present-day state of the Greenland ice sheet is therefore vital for understanding the processes controlling the modern-day rates of sea level change and for making projections of sea level rise into the future. Here, we provide an overview of the current state of the mass budget of Greenland based on a diverse range of remote sensing observations to produce the essential climate variables (ECVs) of ice velocity, surface elevation change, grounding line location, calving front location, and gravimetric mass balance as well as numerical modelling that together build a consistent picture of a shrinking ice sheet. We also combine these observations with output from a regional climate model and from an ice sheet model to gain insight into existing biases in ice sheet dynamics and surface mass balance processes. Observations show surface lowering across virtually all regions of the ice sheet and at some locations up to −2.65 m year 1 between 1995 and 2017 based on radar altimetry analysis. In addition, calving fronts at 28 study sites, representing a sample of typical glaciers, have retreated all around Greenland since the 1990s and in only two out of 28 study locations have they remained stable. During the same period, two of five floating ice shelves have collapsed while the locations of grounding lines at the remaining three floating ice shelves have remained stable over the observation period. In a detailed case study with a fracture model at Petermann glacier, we demonstrate the potential sensitivity of these floating ice shelves to future warming. GRACE gravimetrically-derived mass balance (GMB) data shows that overall Greenland has lost 255 ± 15 Gt year 1 of ice over the period 2003 to 2016, consistent with that shown by IMBIE and a marked increase compared to a rate of loss of 83 ± 63 Gt year 1 in the 1993–2003 period. Regional climate model and ice sheet model simulations show that surface mass processes dominate the Greenland ice sheet mass budget over most of the interior. However, in areas of high ice velocity there is a significant contribution to mass loss by ice dynamical processes. Marked differences between models and observations indicate that not all processes are captured accurately within models, indicating areas for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets)
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