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Assessing high altitude glacier thickness, volume and area changes using field, GIS and remote sensing techniques: the case of Nevado Coropuna (Peru)

Published inThe cryosphere, vol. 4, no. 3, p. 313-323
Publication date2010
Abstract

Higher temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns have induced an acute decrease in Andean glaciers, thus leading to additional stress on water supply. To adapt to climate changes, local governments need information on the rate of glacier area and volume losses and on current ice thickness. Remote sensing analyses of Coropuna glacier (Peru) delineate an acute glaciated area decline between 1955 and 2008. We tested how volume changes can be estimated with remote sensing and GIS techniques using digital eleva- tion models derived from both topographic maps and satel- lite images. Ice thickness was measured in 2004 using a Ground Penetrating Radar coupled with a Ground Position- ing System during a field expedition. It provided profiles of ice thickness on different slopes, orientations and altitudes. These were used to model the current glacier volume us- ing Geographical Information System and statistical multi- ple regression techniques. The results revealed a significant glacier volume loss; however the uncertainty is higher than the measured volume loss. We also provided an estimate of the remaining volume. The field study provided the scien- tific evidence needed by COPASA, a local Peruvian NGO, and GTZ, the German international cooperation agency, in order to alert local governments and communities and guide them in adopting new climate change adaptation policies.

Citation (ISO format)
PEDUZZI, Pascal, HEROLD, Christian, SILVERIO TORRES, Walter Claudio. Assessing high altitude glacier thickness, volume and area changes using field, GIS and remote sensing techniques: the case of Nevado Coropuna (Peru). In: The cryosphere, 2010, vol. 4, n° 3, p. 313–323. doi: 10.5194/tc-4-313-2010
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ISSN of the journal1994-0416
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