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Assessing evolution of ice caps in Suðurland, Iceland, in years 1986 - 2014, using multispectral satellite imagery

Miodonska, Alicja LU (2019) In Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science GISM01 20182
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
The study focuses on the application of multispectral satellite imageries in glaciological studies. It aims to assess how the Icelandic glaciers have evolved over the last decades (from the 1980s to 2014). The study area covers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps located in Suðurland, Iceland.

The cryosphere is an integral part of the global climate system. Its occurrence is dependent on climatic conditions but also significantly affects the climate. Ongoing climate change is most pronounced in the Arctic and the impacts on the cryosphere have accelerated during the last decades.

Data and methods
The analysis is based on Landsat data. They include both mapping the spatial extent of the glaciers as well as defining the... (More)
The study focuses on the application of multispectral satellite imageries in glaciological studies. It aims to assess how the Icelandic glaciers have evolved over the last decades (from the 1980s to 2014). The study area covers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps located in Suðurland, Iceland.

The cryosphere is an integral part of the global climate system. Its occurrence is dependent on climatic conditions but also significantly affects the climate. Ongoing climate change is most pronounced in the Arctic and the impacts on the cryosphere have accelerated during the last decades.

Data and methods
The analysis is based on Landsat data. They include both mapping the spatial extent of the glaciers as well as defining the equilibrium line altitude (ELA). Several remote sensing techniques are used in order to determine the best semi-automated approach. The best results were obtained by using the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) to determine the boundaries of glaciers, and Red / Near-Infrared ratio images to determine accumulation and ablation zones (and thus find ELA).

Results and conclusions
The ice caps of the Mýrdalsjökull group have dramatically reduced their surface area during the last decades. Eyjafjallajökull has decreased by more than 40%. Once joined, currently, the ice caps form two separate ice bodies. These results are consistent with the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) program findings and the changes in termini positions observed by World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and Iceland Glaciological Society. The dominant driving factor for such a dramatic change seems to be an increase in temperature associated with observed global climate warming. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Den pågående klimatförändringen är som mest uttalad i Arktis och påverkan på kryosfären har accelererat under de senaste årtiondena. Den här studien undersöker möjlihgeterna att applicera multispektrala satellitdata inom Kryosfärsstudier. Studieområdet täcker istäcksområdena Mýrdalsjökull och Eyjafjallajökull, belägna i Suðurland på Island. Analysen baseras sig på Landsatdata. Studien inkluderar en beskrivning av området, kartläggning av glaciärernas rumsliga utbredning och avgränsning inom olika zoner (ablations och accumulation). Flera olika metoder inom fjärranalys används för att hitta den semiautomatiska metod som lämpar sig bäst. En utvärdering av resultaten visar hur istäckena har förändrats sedan 1980-talet, och troliga orsaker... (More)
Den pågående klimatförändringen är som mest uttalad i Arktis och påverkan på kryosfären har accelererat under de senaste årtiondena. Den här studien undersöker möjlihgeterna att applicera multispektrala satellitdata inom Kryosfärsstudier. Studieområdet täcker istäcksområdena Mýrdalsjökull och Eyjafjallajökull, belägna i Suðurland på Island. Analysen baseras sig på Landsatdata. Studien inkluderar en beskrivning av området, kartläggning av glaciärernas rumsliga utbredning och avgränsning inom olika zoner (ablations och accumulation). Flera olika metoder inom fjärranalys används för att hitta den semiautomatiska metod som lämpar sig bäst. En utvärdering av resultaten visar hur istäckena har förändrats sedan 1980-talet, och troliga orsaker till dessa presenteras. Istäckena från Mýrdalsjökul har minskat i yta dramatiskt under de senaste decenierna och Eyjafjallajökull har minskat sin yta med mer än 50%. Dessa resultat stämmer väl överens med de globala landismätningar som utförts av rymdprogram och de förändringar av termini-position som observerats av World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) och Islands Glaciologiska Sällskap. (Less)
Abstract (Polish)
Arktyka jest obszarem Ziemi, w którym skutki zmian klimatycznych są najbardziej widoczne, a w ciągu ostatnich dziesięcioleci ich wpływ na kriosferę jeszcze przyspieszył. W niniejszej pracy skupiono się na zastosowaniu wielospektralnych obrazów satelitarnych do badaniach glaciologicznych. Obszar badań obejmuje czapy lodowe Mýrdalsjökull i Eyjafjallajökull w rejonie Suðurland, Islandia. Analiza oparta została o dane pochodzące z satelit Landsat. W pracy zawarto charakterystykę regionu oraz wyznaczono zasięg przestrzenny lodowców i ich stref. W celu znalezienia najlepszej semiautomatycznej metody badań, sprawdzono kilka różnych technik teledetekcyjnych. Na podstawie uzyskanych wyników dokonano oceny zmian, jakie nastąpiły od lat 80. XX wieku,... (More)
Arktyka jest obszarem Ziemi, w którym skutki zmian klimatycznych są najbardziej widoczne, a w ciągu ostatnich dziesięcioleci ich wpływ na kriosferę jeszcze przyspieszył. W niniejszej pracy skupiono się na zastosowaniu wielospektralnych obrazów satelitarnych do badaniach glaciologicznych. Obszar badań obejmuje czapy lodowe Mýrdalsjökull i Eyjafjallajökull w rejonie Suðurland, Islandia. Analiza oparta została o dane pochodzące z satelit Landsat. W pracy zawarto charakterystykę regionu oraz wyznaczono zasięg przestrzenny lodowców i ich stref. W celu znalezienia najlepszej semiautomatycznej metody badań, sprawdzono kilka różnych technik teledetekcyjnych. Na podstawie uzyskanych wyników dokonano oceny zmian, jakie nastąpiły od lat 80. XX wieku, a także przedstawiono prawdopodobne przyczyny wahań lodowców. W ciągu ostatnich dziesięcioleci czapy lodowe grupy Mýrdalsjökull skurczyły się dramatycznie. Powierzchnia Eyjafjallajökull zmalała o ponad 40%. Niegdyś połączone, obecnie czapy lodowe tworzą dwa oddzielne lodowe ciała. Wyniki te są zgodne z pomiarami programu Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) oraz ze zmianami pozycji czół lodowcowych obserwowanym przez World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) i Islandzkie Towarzystwo Glacjologiczne. (Less)
Popular Abstract
This study focuses on the application of satellite imageries in glaciological studies. It aims to assess how the Icelandic glaciers have evolved over the last decades (from the 1980s to 2014). The study area covers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps located in Suðurland Southern Region of Iceland.

Earth's cryosphere (the world of frozen water) is an environmental component most sensitive and most threatened by the climate change. The importance of the cryosphere in the Earth system and thereby the importance of cryosphere studies follows from e.g. its influence on sea level changes. Global warming will also have catastrophic consequences for the unique ecosystems of polar regions.

Data and methods
The analysis is based on... (More)
This study focuses on the application of satellite imageries in glaciological studies. It aims to assess how the Icelandic glaciers have evolved over the last decades (from the 1980s to 2014). The study area covers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps located in Suðurland Southern Region of Iceland.

Earth's cryosphere (the world of frozen water) is an environmental component most sensitive and most threatened by the climate change. The importance of the cryosphere in the Earth system and thereby the importance of cryosphere studies follows from e.g. its influence on sea level changes. Global warming will also have catastrophic consequences for the unique ecosystems of polar regions.

Data and methods
The analysis is based on data acquired by Landsat – NASA satellites. The analysis includes both mapping the glaciers as well as defining their specific zones. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and satellite remote sensing techniques provide great tools for studying such inhospitable wide polar areas. Satellite observations also enable a major step forward towards a uniform global glacier monitoring.

Results and conclusions
The Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps have dramatically reduced their area during the last decades. Eyjafjallajökull has decreased almost by half. Once joined, currently, the ice caps form two separate ice bodies. The dominant driving factor for such a dramatic change seems to be an increase in temperature associated with observed climate change. Research and systematic monitoring are essential to better understand the phenomenon of global warming. Observations of glaciers, as Earth’s components extremely sensitive to these factors, allows to better estimate current changes and forecast its effects and development in the future. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Miodonska, Alicja LU
supervisor
organization
course
GISM01 20182
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
remote sensing, multispectral satellite imagery, Landsat, Iceland, glaciers, ice caps, Geography, GIS
publication/series
Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science
report number
95
language
English
id
8966699
date added to LUP
2019-01-16 14:21:16
date last changed
2019-01-16 14:21:16
@misc{8966699,
  abstract     = {The study focuses on the application of multispectral satellite imageries in glaciological studies. It aims to assess how the Icelandic glaciers have evolved over the last decades (from the 1980s to 2014). The study area covers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps located in Suðurland, Iceland.

The cryosphere is an integral part of the global climate system. Its occurrence is dependent on climatic conditions but also significantly affects the climate. Ongoing climate change is most pronounced in the Arctic and the impacts on the cryosphere have accelerated during the last decades.

Data and methods
The analysis is based on Landsat data. They include both mapping the spatial extent of the glaciers as well as defining the equilibrium line altitude (ELA). Several remote sensing techniques are used in order to determine the best semi-automated approach. The best results were obtained by using the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) to determine the boundaries of glaciers, and Red / Near-Infrared ratio images to determine accumulation and ablation zones (and thus find ELA). 

Results and conclusions
The ice caps of the Mýrdalsjökull group have dramatically reduced their surface area during the last decades. Eyjafjallajökull has decreased by more than 40%. Once joined, currently, the ice caps form two separate ice bodies. These results are consistent with the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) program findings and the changes in termini positions observed by World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and Iceland Glaciological Society. The dominant driving factor for such a dramatic change seems to be an increase in temperature associated with observed global climate warming.},
  author       = {Miodonska, Alicja},
  keyword      = {remote sensing,multispectral satellite imagery,Landsat,Iceland,glaciers,ice caps,Geography,GIS},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science},
  title        = {Assessing evolution of ice caps in Suðurland, Iceland, in years 1986 - 2014, using multispectral satellite imagery},
  year         = {2019},
}