Detection of glacier surface conditions and recent glacier variations in Patagonia using ALOS data

ABSTRACT

We analyzed the glacier surface conditions (bare ice/snow) using PALSAR data for Glaciar San Rafael, San Quintin and Pío XI of Hielos Patagónicos (Patagonia Icefields), South America. At San Rafael, we compared with those of ERS (European Remote Sensing Satellite) in 1992 and 1997, thereby finding that backscatters of PALSAR (L-band, HH) from snow zone is much stronger than those of ERS (C-band, VV). We also compared the results of PALSAR with ALOS AVNIR-2 and Landsat summer data.

We elucidated snout variations of 19 (7 last year and 12 this year) outlet glaciers of the Hielo Patagónico Sur (HPS), for 1986-2001 and 2001-2006/07, using Landsat TM (1986 & 2001) and ALOS PRISM (2006/07) and AVNIR-2 (2007). Together with the data from 1944/45 to 1986, we found that at many glaciers, the trend of retreat has continued for 2001-2006/07, with two exceptions: one remained stable, while the other advanced.

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