Change detection and monitoring of glacier mass balance and facies using ERS SAR winter images over Svalbard
Glacier mass balance is a function of climate and may be used as a proxy indicator of climate change. However, several obstacles oppose mass balance change detection using field observations and optical remote sensing techniques at high latitude. To overcome these problems we investigated the capability of satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to detect changes in mass balance and glacier facies. Eight years of winter European remote sensing (ERS) SAR data from Kongsvegen, Svalbard, were analysed. The results suggest that the minimum and maximum altitude of the equilibrium line and the perennial firn accumulation areas on timescales of a couple of years could be mapped. However, the altitude of the annual equilibrium line could not be resolved. A firn area detection algorithm was developed.