Optical Remote Sensing of Alpine Glaciers Chapter uri icon


  • Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011. The increasing availability of optical data (often without charge) and the range of potential applications in glaciological studies have made remote sensing an essential part of glaciology. It provides the only realistic means of conducting glaciological work over large areas, which is quite often necessary as an event, change, or feature in one part of the glacial system can be a product of processes interacting many kilometers away. Human interpretation of optical satellite imagery remains an important method of information extraction, although computer-assisted analysis and the development of new algorithms and processing procedures are increasingly improving our ability to accurately generate higher-level quantitative information that is not directly apparent from visualizations (e.g., surface velocity fields and debris-depth maps). While a number of limitations still exist in the use of remote sensing data for glaciological studies, remote sensing, terrain analysis, and GIS-based numerical modeling can be effectively utilized to generate a wealth of information about glacierized terrain that complements, and even in some cases improves upon, field investigations. Continuing advances in sensor technology, processing methods, and numerical models are expected to overcome the most significant of these limitations in coming years, and therefore yield even more detailed assessments of glacier characteristics and processes.

author list (cited authors)

  • Quincey, D. J., & Bishop, M. P.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Quincey, Duncan J||Bishop, Michael P

editor list (cited editors)

  • Singh, V. P., Singh, P., & Haritashya, U. K.

Book Title

  • Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

publication date

  • January 2011