The new remote-sensing-derived Swiss glacier inventory: II. First results

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Complete Swiss glacier inventories are available for 1850 (reconstructed) and 1973 (from aerial photography). Connected to the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space project, a new Swiss glacier inventory for approximately the year 2000 (SGI 2000) is compiled mainly based on satellite imagery. The developed and applied remote-sensing and geographical information system (GIS) methods are described in part I of the contribution. In part II, the inventory design, first-result analyses and comparisons with former glacial conditions are presented. As basic entries SGI 2000 contains the individual glacier identification, planimetric glacier boundaries as derived from image analysis, digitized central flowlines and polygonal glacier basin maps. All other parameters are automatically deduced from the above entries and a digital elevation model within a GIS. Here, we analyze a set of small Bernese and Valais glaciers of area <10 km2. These glaciers lost about 21% of area from 1973 to 1998, in addition to about 80% during 1850-1973, both with respect to the 1973 area. In order to track the latest trend in more detail, an intermediate glacier condition has been compiled from satellite imagery of 1985. This analysis gave an increasing speed of area loss (19%) for 1985-98.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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