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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Fluctuations and movements of the Kuksai Glacier, western China, derived from Landsat image sequences
Author(s): Huaining Yang; Shiyong Yan; Guang Liu; Zhixing Ruan

Paper Abstract

Nine Landsat thematic mapper/enhanced thematic mapper (TM/ETM)+ images from 1998 to 2010 were analyzed to detect variations in the Kuksai Glacier of Mt. Muztagh Ata, western China. The velocities of glacial movement were quantified using the normalized cross-correlation (NCC) method. The surface debris cover of the glacier makes automated glacier outline mapping difficult, but provides useful features for monitoring glacier movement with the NCC method. Six displacement maps of the Kuksai Glacier, with an accuracy of 7 m, were derived from the band 3 of Landsat images. The NCC method is proven to be very effective in monitoring the activity of debris-covered glaciers. The results indicate that the velocity of the Kuksai Glacier is high in the upper portion and decreases downstream. For most of the years studied, the variability in the glacier movements in the middle and upper parts of the glacier, especially at 9 to 16 km upstream from the glacier terminal, is much larger than that in the downstream part. This study demonstrates that glacial movements can be routinely monitored using Landsat images, providing an input to and an opportunity for the detailed study of glacier dynamics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2013
PDF: 14 pages
J. Appl. Remote Sens. 8(1) 084599 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.8.084599
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 8, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Huaining Yang, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (China)
Shiyong Yan, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (China)
Guang Liu, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (China)
Zhixing Ruan, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (China)

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