Scale-dependent analysis of satellite imagery for characterization of glacier surfaces in the Karakoram Himalaya Academic Article uri icon


  • Information regarding process-structure relationships and change in the Karakoram Himalaya is of great importance in studying glacier hydrology, mass balance, and dynamic environmental change. Such information is not readily available. Detailed spatio-temporal assessment requires field investigation coupled with quantitative remote sensing studies. We conducted an investigation of the large Batura Glacier in Pakistan to determine if spectral variability can be quantified and used to characterize glacier surfaces. Specifically, SPOT Panchromatic satellite data were evaluated for differentiating features of glacier structure resulting from ice movement, ablation, and supraglacial fluvial action. Image semivariogram analysis was conducted for assessing spectral variability patterns and fractal analysis was used to examine scale-dependent variation in the data. Results indicate that spectral variability from fields of ice seracs can exhibit fractal characteristics, although most surface features on the glacier exhibit a change in the fractal dimension over different ranges in scale. The fractal dimension was found to be useful for differentiating between glacier surfaces such as white ice and debris-covered ice. Characteristics of the debris-load and the scale-dependent nature of calculating the fractal dimension ultimately determined the potential of class separability. 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

published proceedings

  • Geomorphology

author list (cited authors)

  • Bishop, M. P., Shroder, J. F., Hickman, B. L., & Copland, L.

publication date

  • January 1998