Reconstruction of Annual Glacier Mass Balance from Remote Sensing-Derived Average Glacier-Wide Albedo

Reconstruction du bilan massique annuel des glaciers à partir de l'albédo moyen à l'échelle du glacier obtenu par télédétection

Zhang, Zhimin ; Jiang, Liming ; Sun, Yafei ; Sirguey, Pascal ; Dumont, Marie ; Liu, Lin ; Gao, Ning ; Gao, Songfeng

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<p align=justify>Annual mass balance is an important reflection of glacier status that is also very sensitive to climate fluctuations. However, there is no effective and universal albedo-based method for the reconstruction of annual mass balance due to the scarcity of field observations. Here, we present an improved albedo-mass balance (IAMB) method to estimate annual glacier surface mass balance series using remote sensing techniques. The averaged glacier-wide albedo derived with the MODImLab algorithm during the summer season provides an effective proxy of the annual mass change. Defined as the variation in the albedo as a function of elevation change, the altitude-albedo gradient (∂z/∂α) can be obtained from a glacier digital elevation model (DEM) and optical images. The Chhota Shigri glacier situated in the western Himalayas was selected to test and assess the accuracy of this method over the period from 2003 to 2014. Reconstructed annual mass budgets correlated well with those from the observed records, with an average difference and root mean square error (RMSE) of −0.75 mm w.e. a−1 and 274.91 mm w.e. a−1, respectively, indicating that the IAMB method holds promise for glacier mass change monitoring. This study provides a new technique for annual mass balance estimation that can be applied to glaciers with no or few mass balance observations</p>
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