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Development of operational monitoring system for european glacial areas - synthesis of earth observation data of the present, past and future (OMEGA)


A procedure for making close-up digital elevation models of glacier surface has been developed and the benefits of using these DEMs in glaciological change detection has been studied. The models can be used to follow accurately the changes of different surface features like melt water channels, glacier tables, ablation hollows etc. The results indicate that close-up DEMs can be used to densify more sparse DEMs and to detect changes in ice structure and movements.
Mass balance data was measured for two Svartisen glaciers between 2001 and 2005. Most of this work was financed and carried out as part of a glacier monitoring programme but the work was done in association with work for the Omega project and the results are available to participants within Omega. The mass balance data are available for Engabreen and Storglombreen, and includes accumulation over the winter period, ablation over the sum period and net balance for each of the three years. The mass balance data are available as net for each glacier, and also in 100 m elevation intervals for the two glaciers.
The glacial firnline of the Svartisen Glacier has been detected using ERS II SAR and ENVISAT ASAR data from 1995 and up to today. The firnline is detected by first correcting the image backscatter intensity for topographic and geometric contributions using the Muhlmann backscattering model. Then we discriminate between firn and ice facies based on the backscatter intensity since frozen firn has higher backscatter than ice. Transects across different areas of the glacier were chosen based on requirements of smoothness of topography, precipitation zones, and the availability of field data for validation and comparison. A substantial retreat of the firnline has been observed over the last few years. The equilibrium line derived from field measurements show a similar trend as the firnline changes but has much larger year-to-year variability. Thus, the firnline may be a better indicator of climate change than the equilibrium line due to the smaller variance. The retreat of the firnline altitude is more rapid on Oostbreen than on Storglombreen that is located further west. A large change is observed on Engabreen, which is located furthest to the west of the Svartisen Glacier system, though this change may have been amplified by the local topography.
During the OMEGA project, a unique know-how of processing, analysis and interpretation of laser scan data in extreme high-mountain environments has been achieved (with emphasis on applications in extreme environment, e.g. glaciers).
Transforming the satellite image grey values into various absolute physical units (radiance, reflectance) are tasks that more and more people are aiming to fulfil nowadays. There have not been easy processes for e.g. IMAGINE users etc. to turn Landsat data into ground reflectances. We made a process for that with GUI. The image-based Dark Object Subtraction method needs no external atmospheric data. We found and corrected several errors in the data documentation and processes created by others. COST is a general approach many are trying to implement themselves, and all are making the same mistakes. DOS3 is better than COST.
Topographic correction of satellite or other Remote Sensing images is not trivial. Most methods assume the surface to be Lambertian. Non-Lambertian methods are more general but require user-defined parameters (Minneart) or regression methods. We used our robust image-based regression method and created a process into IMAGINE environment (Model) to perform the whole topographic correction process. It is somewhat tolerant to DEM errors, disabling too big slope estimates and over corrections. The C-factor method has been considered the best topographic correction method in some reviews. Still it is not available as such in much COTS Remote Sensing software.
Environmental information in general, and glacier information in particular is of varying nature. Some information comes from rather basic measurements, some from very sophisticated (experimental) processing algorithms, some are collected in-situ, and some are remotely sensed to a varying degree (ground, air-borne, space-born). Measurements and derived information represent points, lines, or continuous fields in two or more dimensions, but are in general of spatial nature. Several institutions with different policies with respect to management, accessibility and technical solutions contribute to this information. Due to this variability, the Information and Monitoring System, created in the Omega project is constructed with flexibility and distribution as major design criteria. The Omega System is therefore general enough to serve a large range of Environmental Monitoring Tasks where distribution among several actors is a primary concern. We would describe the status of the Omega System as an operational prototype. During the project the system has proved its capability to store different types of glaciological data products, at different locations, with different types of meta data attached, and to present this as a coherent collection for the user community.
Sometimes, when using a new satellite data type for atmospheric correction, the following question arises: how to define the mean exoatmospheric solar irradiances for a certain band? Either we need the band limits, or, preferably, the relative signal response curves (RSR) of the instrument (plus the Solar irradiance spectrum). We can calculate the bandwise mean irradiances relatively easily, but the possibility to do this is generally not in the existing commercial image processing and mapping softwares. Here, we made a simple procedure into MS Excel. Another application for this process is to convolve the response curves with some ground surface reflectance curve measurements, to produce reflectance percentages that the satellite “should see”.
Novosat has paid some attention to the SAR operational use, to define some practical limitations and guidelines for the proposed spaceborne SAR applications of OMEGA. This will ease the user of the monitoring system to plan what to do, really, and how to possibly fulfil the monitoring requirements. A detailed report on the operational InSAR DEM production test (Kaartinen and Ikola 2002) was prepared and delivered. This was Novo’s own productional test using ERS data, using own InSAR application and ERDAS IFSAR. Naturally, the accuracy was not too good for the glaciers, due to the difficult landscapes, and because no reference DEM was possible to be incorporated in the unwrapping phase. Novosat took a better look on the InSAR (mostly DEM) software applications available for operational use. This included interviewing some users. In Omega we give just a brief description, not doing justice to all the features available. Inversion techniques in InSAR unwrapping: Inversion mathematics based unwrapping methods were tested for spaceborne InSAR data. But only some experience of inversion techniques was gained.
The survey of glacier velocities using spaceborne remote sensing data was performed for the first time in the history of the exploration of Svartisen Ice Caps. The velocities of 4 outlet glaciers were determined from spaceborne ERS-1/2 INSAR data obtained over the study site in March 1996. Horizontal velocities were surveyed at 7 to 11 surface points of Engabreen, Litlbreen, Storglombreen, Frukostindenbreen and Hintereisferner glaciers during 3 field campaigns in summers 2002, 2003 and compared with INSAR winter velocities. The tachometric differences revealed were explained by seasonal changes in glacier motion, different duration of observations, methodological imperfections and the influence of glacier melting and tilting of separate ice blocks. The analysis of multitemporal spaceborne SAR and optical imagery provided certain evidence on the character of the ice flow at test glaciers. A significant retreat of glacial termini was detected in the study areas in the past 5 years. The maximum losses of glacier ice were recorded at termini of Fingerbreen (1.4 km²), Hintereisferner (0.37 km²), Guslarferner (0.16 km²), Vernaglwandferner (0.13 km²) and Storglombreen (0.11 km²) glaciers. Local changes in area amounting to 20% (Guslarferner), 14% (Vernaglwandferner) and 10% (Fingerbreen) of the total glacier area can be considered as more than significant even for relatively large valley glaciers in Europe. Present estimations of glacier dynamics in the OMEGA test sites are believed to be both expedient and useful for further multidisciplinary studies in European glacial areas.
Detailed records of the mass balance of three glaciers in the alpine OMEGA region have been established for the years 2001-2003. These data are supplemented by meteorological records of 7 stations in that area, including temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, humidity, air pressure, and snow cover. The records are compared to long-term averages. Density profiles of near-surface firn have been analysed for 15 locations on Hintereisferner since 1964. These profiles are an essential input for the determination of mass balance from remote sensing and geodetic measurements. Relevance and potential: - Mass balance and its relation to the climatic environment is the basic information on changes in a glacial area. - Density profiles are an essential input for the determination of mass balance from remote sensing and geodetic measurements. - The OMEGA data set includes the summer of 2003, which is extreme in glaciological and meteorological statistics.
An Axis 2120 Network camera was placed on a ridge south of HEF overlooking the central and upper part of the glacier. Two digital 24 bit colour images per day are transmitted to a webserver ( ). Two automatic weather stations were installed on HEF at ~2600m and ~3050m elevation. Continuous records of air temperature, snow temperature, humidity, solar and IR radiation fluxes and snow/ice height are stored as 10min averages and manually retrieved once a month. Relevance and potential: Input into energy balance models of ice melt.
Often in change detection, relative matching of digital images is done using regression methods. But for high resolution images, there may be geometric differences due to different viewing geometry, different shadowing, DEM errors, BDRF effects, etc., which cause the rectified images not to be optimal for regression. We implemented the mean & standard deviation matching. The method corresponds to distribution (histogram) matching, according to 1st and 2nd moment, or brightness & contrast matching. Compared to regression, it may be better in certain cases because the above reasons and due to added features: - We detect and exclude the areas that have changed (i.e. that after the transformation still have big enough brightness difference, not to be considered normal). - We made the process iterative, so that after defining the linear image-to-image coefficients we can re-threshold the changed areas and re-calculate the coefficients, until they remain stable. In IMAGINE environment (GUI), the user can select the images, the area used for the statistics, the initialisation method, plus other parameters like the change threshold, exaggeration coefficient for the update vector of the coefficients. The difference image can also be produced here, by just pressing the button.
Glaciers have been documented since 1870’s by means of terrestrial photography. The cameras used for photography have been metric cameras, and control point networks have been established and targeted in the area before photography. As photographs are originally made for surveying purpose, they can be considered as primary geographic data. In general, old photographs build early and reliable reference for later monitoring tasks. However, the potential value of this data depends entirely on its usability. The oldest records are on glass plates and are as such not useful at all. In order to become compared with new data, photographs have to be transformed to a known geodetic reference system, most usually to a 3D coordinate system. This result aims to digitise analogue geographic records and to determine their georeference. The photogrammetry procedure consists of: - Digitising of glass plates, - Measuring of tie points between photographs and measuring of geodetic control points, which are identified in images, - Block adjustment, in order to determine parameter values of georeference for each image. Once photographs are processed by photogrammetric means, they can be considered as geographic information. They can be used for producing and analysing of secondary geographic data.
At first, we implemented a robust image-based regression process (which could be considered also a result of its own). It can be used to give the linear regression between 2 images or image bands. In de-hazing or relative matching, one possibility is to calculate a plane-like correction, or, even better, a haziness index image. Here we need Tasseled Cap transformation’s (TC) fourth component (Crist et al 1986, Lauvreau 1991). It is defined separately for Landsat 4 & 5 gray tones. Our de-hazing process can be used also for Landsat 7 data, if DN values are first transformed to correspond Landsat 5 DNs. A robust regression model was implemented into ERDAS IMAGINE environment. The whole image area can be used if wanted so. This is a remarkable result, since IMAGINE has been lacking such a robust process. Often there is some overflow effects. Our process also considers the background value 0 and saturated values 255 in a consistent way in all phases of the model. The de-hazing process uses the regression and eliminates the haze effect in Landsat satellite images. In the discussion lists, ERDAS or Leica Photogrammetry Suite IMAGINE users have asked for such methods. We have used the process for some change detection and mosaicking projects. The TC4 dehazing process is implemented as a 2-phase process now in IMAGINE Graphical Modeler. It is possible to further develop a graphical interface (and a smooth multi-band process, as with C-factor).
The aim of the OMEGA project is to develop an accurate long-term operational monitoring system for European glacial areas. The User Requirement Document is written from the perspective of glaciologists or others interested in measuring glacier areas, and lists the requirements of such a monitoring system, including required accuracies. The document also describes the current status for previous remote sensing techniques that have been used to monitor glaciers.
Velocity data were collected on several occasions at mass balance stakes and additional stakes on Engabreen and Storglombreen glaciers. The positions of the stakes were measured in May, August and September between 2001 and 2006 in order to give average annual velocity, and show seasonal changes in velocity.
The use of digital camera imagery provides a new potential for acquisition of low-cost very high-resolution remote sensing data over glaciers operationally. The camera type needed is a low cost camera true or false colour digital camera, which are inexpensive compared to metric analogue or digital cameras. With data acquisition and navigation hardware and software the target areas can be monitored periodically if weather conditions allow. The current software enables fast and accurate enough modelling of the terrain topography and construction of digital image mosaic. There are two analysis types for the created mosaics. Visual classification can be used for classification the glacier into ice, firn or snow classes and delineation of the glacier borders and mapping of crevasses. The glacier surface can also be classified by digital classification or segmentation. So far visual interpretation is considered to be the most accurate method. The disadvantage of the methodology is brightness variations within the mosaic caused by light falloff, BRDF and topographic effect decreasing the quality. Due to the forward scattering characteristics of snow and firn surface the BRDF correction algorithms developed for backscattering land surfaces do not work satisfactorily. In this project, the algorithm was modified for snow and firn surfaces and the results were satisfactory. The results will be utilized in further glacier monitoring research projects and also in teaching at the universities. The method can also be used as mapping method of forests, land use or urban areas only to mention but a few.
The RSG software module is intended for viewing, processing, archiving and distributing of differential INSAR data, as well as cartographic and ancillary data, both raster and vector, being relevant to solving OMEGA project objectives. This PC-oriented software runs under the Windows98, 2000, NT and XP operating systems. All partners of the JR_DIB have an opportunity of using the RSG software (under licensing), which can be downloaded and installed directly from the JR_DIB web-site. All updates to the RSG_DINSAR product can be accessed via the same site.
Glaciers have been documented since 1920’s by means of aerial photography. The cameras used for photography have been metric cameras, and control point networks have not been always established and targeted in the area before photography. However, as photographs are originally made for surveying purpose, they can be considered as primary geographic data. In general, old photographs build early and reliable reference for later monitoring tasks. The potential value of this data depends entirely on its usability. The older records are as such not useful for e.g. monitoring of change, if they cannot be transformed to a known geodetic reference system, most usually to a 3D coordinate system. This result aims to determine the georeference of old aerial photography. The photogrammetry procedure consists of: - Producing natural control points by use of new photography which are known by georeference, - Measuring of natural control points, which are identified in old images, as tie points between old and new photographs and - Block adjustment, in order to determine orientation parameters for old images. Once photographs are processed by photogrammetric means, they can be considered as geographic information. They can be used for producing and analysing of secondary geographic data.
On 02.09, 03.09 and 04.09 of the year 2002, nearly 600 spectra were acquired from horizontal parts of Hintereisferner using the FieldSpec® Pro FR spectrometer. For snow, firn and ice the following classification scheme was used: New Wet Snow (NWS), Old Dirty Snow (ODS), Old Clean Snow (OCS), Firn (FI), Clean Ice (CI) and Dirty Ice (DI). Per location, approximately 6-7 measurements together with 2 reference measurements were made. The spectrometer has a spectral sampling interval of 1.0nm in the spectral interval 350nm - 2500nm. The whole process of acquiring multiple measurements on different parts of a glacier is very time consuming and most of all laborious. Therefore the amount of available spectral glacier data is minimal. Such ground measurements form the ultimate basis for creating groundthruth databases for glacier surfaces. Our measurements of these surfaces were compared to albedo curves constructed by Zeng et al. (1984). These spectral databases are generally used to unravel the often widely varying signals detected by satellites for specific surfaces. One might argue that as long as both ground and satellite acquisitions have not been done at the same time, the comparison of spectral measurements cannot be done. Nevertheless, the measurements done at Hintereisferner in 2002 show great resemblance to typical reflection patterns of snow, firn and ice. In non-glacier studies, satellite images are interpreted spectrally using spectral libraries for e.g. certain stone or vegetation covers. These spectral libraries are even implemented in to the most common remote sensing software packages. Therefore we think that this dataset is very valuable and may be the basis of a new spectral library that is to be constructed for glacier surfaces. As remote sensing techniques are becoming more popular and inevitable in land surface analysis, more of these datasets have to be acquired. They have to be compared and a standard has to be developed for their correct acquisition and the optimal atmospheric circumstances. Only then, glacier surfaces can be correctly interpreted by fine-tuning spectral data from satellite images.
A new methodology for INSAR surveying and modelling of glacial dynamics and morphology has been designed, tested and verified. Comparing to the conventional DINSAR method, our algorithm based on the calculation of interferometric phase gradients (GINSAR), the generation of glacier slope maps and the analysis of differences between multitemporal slope maps provides global, simple and fast solution to the precise modelling of the glacier surface, unsupervised glacier change detection and motion estimation. Apart from the technological simplicity and robustness, the GINSAR algorithm does not involve the procedure of interferometric phase unwrapping thus excluding the areal error propagation and improving the modelling accuracy. Experimental studies proved the efficacy and robustness of our new algorithm. Some 17 INSAR models of the HF and SV test sites have been processed until the present time and all the results were entirely satisfactory. The time required for processing one differential model did not exceed 4 hours. The algorithm has been implemented in the new RSG 4.0 software package distributed by the Joanneum Research, Austria. The GINSAR technique can be successfully applied to accounting for temporal changes in the glacier accumulation rate and the glacier mass balance at regional scale. The high metric quality, detail and complementary thematic contents of the value-added INSAR products demonstrate the essential potential of this method and its applicability to solving various tasks in the area of unsupervised glacier change detection and analysis irrespectively of INSAR data sources.
12 manuscripts have been announced for publication in a special issue of Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie. They cover the main activities, methods and results of the OMEGA project. The manuscripts are done in late 2004, will be subject to a peer review process and will be published in the summer of 2005. Relevance: This publication will give a mature summary of the scientific work in OMEGA. The journal has a very high printing standard and does not limit the number of photographs and map supplements.
The following airborne laser scanner data sets has been acquired: - 4 DEMs of Engabreen, Svartisen, Norway (area: ca 62 km2): 9/2001, 5/2002, 8/2002, 6/2003. - 1 DEM of Svartisheibreen, Svartisen, Norway (area: ca 6 km2): 9/2001. - 10 DEMs of Hintereisferner, Otztal Alps, Austria (area: ca 36 km2): 10/2001, 1/2002, 5/2002, 6/2002, 7/2002, 8/2002, 9/2002, 5/2003, 8/2003, 9/2003. - 1 DEM of Vernagtferner, Otztal Alps, Austria (area: ca.20 km{2}): 8/2002 . All data sets are of high resolution and high accuracy and allow for the construction of Digital Elevation Models with 1 m resolution. Potential: Input to different glaciological models (e.g. glacier dynamics, glacier velocity, climate-glacier-relationship) Possible Users: - Research community (glaciology, global change research); - Energy authorities; - Companies running glacier ski resorts. Main innovative features/benefits (technical/commercial success factors): - High quality topographic information (static). Potential market and application sectors: - Highly competitive in areas with low texture (snow covered parts of glacier). Potential barriers: - Traditionalists and related networks. - Flight limitations and restrictions.
A surface matching algorithm has been applied for the accurate registration of digital elevation models into the same coordinate system and thus for the correction of errors in the georeferencing of the DEMs. The difference images after surface matching reveal distortions in the DEMs which were difficult to detect from a single DEM or from two inaccurately georeferenced DEMs. The method has been tested with DEMs produced from various spaceborne, airborne, and terrestrial data. The potential use of the method is to improve current techniques for DEM production.
Estimates for the accuracy of the volume which remains in between two digital elevation models have been derived. The estimates include a truncation error occurring when the volume integral is replaced by a finite sum and uncertainties in the differences between the DEMs due to measurement errors in the elevations, interpolation of the other DEM, and inaccuracies in the georeferencing of the DEMs. Error propagation techniques have been applied to estimate the overall effect of these factors. The result has been used to estimate the accuracy of the change in the volume of Svartisheibreen glacier between two instants. The estimates have been visualized as surfaces describing the plus minus error limits of the change in the volume within each triangle. The potential use of the result relates to the long-term evolution of glaciers estimated from a series of DEMs and its relation to the climate change. In addition to the change in the volume, it is important to know its accuracy.
Information for all the glaciers in Svartisen has been added to the glacier database at NVE that is part of Hysopp? Hydrological Station and Series Information. Information for 53 glaciers on western Svartisen, including Engabreen, Storglombreen and Svartisheibreen and 27 glaciers on eastern Svartisen has been included. Mass balance data for a total of 46 years (mainly Engabreen and Storglombreen) have also been registered here.
- For the glaciological years 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 elevation change maps of Hintereisferner and Kesselwandferner have been produced from high resolution and high accurate airborne laser scanning data. - For the glaciological years 2001/2002 an elevation change map of Engabreen has been produced from high resolution and high accurate airborne laser scanning data.
Novosat implemented robust image linear regression processes for ERDAS IMAGINE environment. It is used also here in the process for estimating the saturated (255) pixels’ true values, via a regression with the non-saturated Landsat band 4 image values directly. Here Novosat used the robust regression method described in the TC4 haze correction description. Also versions with two explaining bands (for example 4 and 3 when estimating the band 2 or 1) were developed, but not utilizing very many pixels. The Area-of-Interest (AOI) enables including the small non-saturated gaps and other edge areas of glaciers. Including much of the bright pixels seems to give more reasonable results than with mostly the darker pixels. This is because the bright end of the regression line gets more accurately defined. The models for estimating the estimated pixels’ true values are based on IMAGINE’s Graphical Modeler processes. They could be commercialised.
A new Ground Control Point network was established at Svartisen in order to improve the quality of the existing geodetic network. 26 points, many of them part of the existing geodetic network established by the Norwegian Mapping Authority, were measured using differential GPS. Additional points measured were mainly around the glaciers Engabreen and Svartisheibreen and most of them had been used previously in mapping work by NVE. The measurements were performed by NVE personnel, and the calculations were done by NVE and NOVOSAT.
Using a multi-temporal database of Landsat images forms the basis for an inexpensive dataset that allows monitoring the same region every 16 days, which is more than suitable for glaciated areas. An experimental approach was developed to overcome the problems related to traditional methods used for glacier delineation. The method consists of a combination of band rationing (Normalised Difference Snow Index) and thresholding of the thermal band in the image. The large advantages of this technique are that all corrections and calculations on the satellite images are implemented in graphical models in the professional remote sensing software Erdas Imagine (Copyright). In this way the same procedures can easily be repeated in a semi-automatic manner using new data sets. Furthermore, the method removes artefacts like shadows, peri-glacial (cold) areas, rims of low hanging clouds and dense clouds themselves. The disadvantage of the method is that the resolution of the result is always limited to the pixel size of the thermal band. Furthermore, sometimes the thermal band shows striping, which creates artefacts in the resulting delineations. The results will be used in further glacier monitoring research projects and will form the basis for more sophisticated methods to study glacier marginal changes.
During the OMEGA project a unique know-how of managing laser scan projects in extreme high-mountain environments has been achieved. The know-how comprises of the organisation of fundamental geodetical data, determination and surveying of calibration areas, organisation of GPS reference data, handling of multifunctional campaigns and other relevant issues.
An original image-based approach to glacier rheological modelling and mapping from spaceborne repeat pass SAR interferograms and high-resolution IKONOS imagery was devised, programmed, tested and validated in different glacier environments. The underlying concept, basic algorithms, processional singularities and the information contents of our value-added interferometric products were analysed and briefly discussed. The technological efficiency and reliability of a new mapping chain was proved by experiments on 14 ERS-1/2 spaceborne interferometric models and 6 stereoscopic models. 12 satellite image maps showing glacier dynamics in the Hintereisferner and Svartisen test sites were compiled, edited and printed at different scales ranging from 1:10 000 to 1:100 000. Map quality control was performed during special surveys in the field. The average tachometric accuracy of satellite rheological maps was estimated at, b 2.0cm/day. The relative accuracy of measuring glacier areal changes and planimetric estimations varied from 0.1 to 1.5%. The satellite rheological image map series provided the basic input to the OMEGA database.
Transforming the satellite image grey values into various absolute physical units (radiance, reflectance) are tasks that more and more people are aiming to fulfil nowadays. No easy processes wezre found for e.g. IMAGINE users etc. to turn Landsat data into ground reflectances. We tested ATCOR version by Geosystems. There are also ATCOR versions from other producers. The application seems to be a rather good method, but learning to use it fluently and correctly may take time and effort. The comments below apply mostly for ATCOR2 and ATCOR3 version 2.0.1 for ERDAS IMAGINE. We gained the basic ability to use the ATCOR process, in order to produce haze corrected and further the ground reflectance images. This is mostly valuable for the service providing point of view. We cannot recommend all users to learn how to use ATCOR. On the other hand we finally did not have a good chance to start testing the renewed version 8.7.

Exploitable results

Contemporary rates of ice loss processes in linear, areal, volumetric, and fluxometric terms were determined over Franz Josef Land, North Novaya Zemlya and South Spitsbergen for the last decade and for the past 50 years. Several new geographic objects (capes, bays, islands) were discovered in the study areas due to the glacier retreat. New tendencies in the behaviour of large tidewater glaciers caused by climate changes and environmental forcing were revealed.
New set of robust algorithms for INSARAL data fusing, which can be used in commercial / non-commercial software packages for robust processing of publicly available INSAR and ALTI data. The height accuracy of spaceborne INSARAL composites was given as +/-5m, which is, at least, twice better than that of standard INSAR products.
Set of visualized tracks of ICESat - GLAS data taken over the Barents Sea Region in cold seasons, 2003 - 2005 (quality-controlled) representing contemporary heights of ice-coasts and main ice divides in the Novaya Zemlya, Svalbard and Franz Josef Land study areas.
Advanced observation technology of large glacial complexes using satellite interferometry and altimetry. The monitoring concept is based on a new remote sensing method involving the combination of satellite interferometry and altimetry (INSARAL). Unique combination of technical parameters related with glacier monitoring is specified, argued and verified.
New computer animations, 3-D displays and documentary film demonstrating the INTEGRAL research results to the general public. The multi-media models can be freely accessed at
New sequence of software blocks and functionalities for geometric processing of overlapping (multitemporal) interferometric models including joint processing of C- and L-band SAR interferograms and interferometric mapping of ice flow and glacier changes (freely accessible and applicable to the ERS-AMI, ENVISAT-ASAR, ALOS-PALSAR and TerraSAR data processing) realized in the form of licensed RSG software package, release 5.1, stand-alone version.
Straightforward differential analysis of INSAR data using phase-gradient and transferential approaches providing new series of INSAR value-products such as topogram (phase-gradient image), fluxogram (differential phase-gradient image) and STRIP (strain rate image product). New approaches to DINSAR data processing mitigating some problems related to the operation of interferometric phase unwrapping and differential interferometry and a new set of robust algorithms for DINSAR data processing, which can be used in commercial software packages.
New, precise and simple "touch-and-go" technique for measuring glacier (frontal) velocities using laser rangefinder and dGPS records of the fast-sea-ice translation. INSAR velocities of 9 test glaciers in the Höhe Tauern, Svalbard and Novaya Zemlya test sites were validated during the field surveys with the total duration of 2.5 weeks.
Database REGARD represents the present regime and spatial changes of large tidewater glaciers at the pan-European scale. Integral estimations of glacier changes are provided in linear, areal, volumetric and fluxometric terms. Database can be freely accessed at
Interferometric image map series and animations showing changes of the largest European glaciers in the Barents Sea Region at scales ranging from 1:50,000 to 1:10,000000. These detailed cartographic products served the basic input to the REGARD database and allowed precise cartometric studies of glacier changes to be carried out at the pan-European scale. Image map series using strain-rate image products (STRIP) enable equivalent forecast of glacier changes for the nearest future.
Precise geocoding of spaceborne interferometric models and straightforward production of semi-controlled interferometric mosaics without surveyed ground control points. Serious height mistakes in available topographic maps were revealed over the largest European ice caps. Rapid negative changes of glacier elevations were detected and mapped in the Hornbreen-Hambergbreen ice bridge area, south Svalbard. The rate of changes is twice of that detected over neighboring glaciers, which indicates the presence of subglacial strait beneath the ice bridge.
Two new teaching courses, three PhD studies and one Diploma work were set up and completed using the INTEGRAL project results. New per-reviewed publications and presentations based on the innovative research results can be accessed at Several new follow up project proposals (MIRAGE, INTERSTEREO, POLARIS) were submitted.