Remote Sensing of Glaciers in the Canadian Cordillera, Western Canada
We review the use of spaceborne imagery and digital elevation models (DEMs) to evaluate glacier thinning and retreat in the Canadian Cordillera, an area that includes the provinces of British Columbia (BC), Alberta, and Yukon Territory. Glaciers in Alberta and British Columbia lost 11.1 ± 3.8 % of their area over the period 1985–2005, which represents an approximate annual shrinkage rate of 0.55 %. For the period 1985–1999 the average thinning rate of sampled glaciers was 0.78 ± 0.19 m/year water equivalent (w.e.), which equates to an annual volume loss of 22.48 ± 5.53 km3. Mean annual ice loss in the Yukon between 1977 and 2007 was 5.5 ± 1.7 km3/year, while the average mass balance for Yukon glaciers over this period was −0.45 ± 0.09 m/year. We also summarize changes in glacier extents and surface elevation from 1965 to 2005, and include examples of surging glaciers in the Yukon and glacier hazards in British Columbia.
KeywordsShuttle Radar Topography Mission British Columbia Glacier Area Coast Mountain Glacier Change
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
Research examining glacier changes in British Columbia and Alberta was completed by the Western Canadian Cryospheric Network (WC2 N). Work in the Yukon was funded by the Polar Climate Stability Network. Both networks were funded by the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS). We also thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). ASTERdata courtesy ofNASA/GSFC/METI/Japan Space Systems, the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team, and the GLIMS project.
- Allen, S.M., and Smith, D.J. (2007) Late Holocene glacial activity of Bridge Glacier, British Columbia Coast Mountains. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 44, 1753–1773.Google Scholar
- Arendt, A.A., Echelmeyer, K.A., Harrison, W.D., Lingle, C.S., and Valentine, V.B. (2002) Rapid wastage of Alaska glaciers and their contribution to rising sea level. Science, 297, 382–386.Google Scholar
- Arendt, A.A., Walsh, J., and Harrison, W. (2009) Changes of glaciers and climate in northwestern North America during the late 20th Century. Journal of Climate, 22, 4117–4134.Google Scholar
- Barrand, N.E., and Sharp, M.J. (2010) Sustained rapid shrinkage of Yukon glaciers since the 1957–1958 International Geophysical Year. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L07501.Google Scholar
- Barry, R.G. (2008) Mountain Weather and Climate (Third Edition), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.Google Scholar
- Berthier, E., and Toutin, T. (2008) SPOT5-HRS digital elevation models and the monitoring of glacier elevation changes in northwest Canada and southeast Alaska. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 2443–2454.Google Scholar
- Berthier, E., Schiefer, E., Clarke, G.K.C., Menounos, B., and Remy, F. (2010) Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea level rise derived from satellite imagery. Nature Geoscience, 3, 92–95.Google Scholar
- Bolch, T., Menounos, B., and Wheate, R. (2010) Landsatbased inventory of glaciers in western Canada, 1985– 2005. Remote Sensing of Environment, 114, 127–137.Google Scholar
- Clarke, G.K.C. (2005) Subglacial processes. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 33, 247–276.Google Scholar
- Clarke, G.K.C., and Holdsworth, G. (2002a) Glaciers of the Coast Mountains. In: R.S. Williams Jr. and J.G. Ferrigno (Eds.), Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World: North America (USGS Professional Paper 1386-J-1), U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, pp. J291–J300.Google Scholar
- Clarke, G.K.C., and Holdsworth, G. (2002b) Glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains. In: R.S. Williams Jr. and J.G. Ferrigno (Eds.), Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World: North America (USGS ProfessionalPaper 1386-J-1), U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, pp. J301–J311.Google Scholar
- DeBeer, C., and Sharp, M. (2007) Recent changes in glacier area and volume within the southern Canadian Cordillera. Annals of Glaciology, 46, 215–221.Google Scholar
- DeBeer, C., and Sharp, M. (2009) Topographic influences on recent changes of very small glaciers in the Monashee Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Glaciology, 55(192), 691–700.Google Scholar
- De Paoli, L., and Flowers, G.E. (2009) Dynamics of a small surge-type glacier investigated using onedimensional geophysical inversion. Journal of Glaciology, 55, 1101–1112.Google Scholar
- Geertsema, M., and Clague, J.J. (2005) Jo¨ kulhlaups at Tulsequah Glacier, northwestern British Columbia, Canada. The Holocene, 15, 310–316.Google Scholar
- Gratton, D., Howarth, P., and Marceau, D. (1990) Combining DEM parameters with Landsat MSS and TM imagery in a GIS for mountain glacier characterization. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 28, 766–769.Google Scholar
- Kargel, J.S., Abrams, M.J., Bishop, M.P., Bush, A., Hamilton, G., Jiskoot, H., Ka¨ a¨ b, A., Kieffer, H.H., Lee, E.M., Paul, F. et al. (2005) Multispectral imaging contributions to Global Land Ice Measurements from Space. Remote Sensing of Environment, 99, 187–219.Google Scholar
- Kershaw, J.A., Clague, J.J., and Evans, S.G. (2005) Geomorphic and sedimentological signature of a two phase outburst flood from moraine-dammed Queen Bess Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 30, 1–25.Google Scholar
- Korona, J., Berthier, E., Bernard, M., Remy, F., and Thouvenot, E. (2009) SPIRIT. SPOT 5 stereoscopic survey of polar ice: Reference images and topographies during the fourth International Polar Year (2007– 2009). ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 64, 204–212.Google Scholar
- Luckman, B., Harding, K., and Hamilton, P. (1987) Recent glacier advances in the Premier Range, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 24, 1149–1161.Google Scholar
- Marshall, S.J., White, E.C., Demuth, M.N., Bolch, T., Wheate, R., Menounos, B., Beedle, M.J., and Shea, J.M. (2011) Glacier water resources on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Canadian Water Resources Journal, 36(2), 109–134, doi: 10.4296/ cwrj3602823.Google Scholar
- Mathews, W.H., and Clague, J.J. (1993) The record of jo¨ kulhlaups from Summit Lake, northwestern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 30, 499–508.Google Scholar
- Moore, G.W.K., Holdsworth, G., and Alverson, K. (2002) Climate change in the North Pacific region over the past three centuries. Nature, 420, 401–403Google Scholar
- Moore, R., Fleming, S., Menounos, B., Wheate, R., Fountain, A., Holm, C., and Jakob, M. (2009) Glacier change in western North America: Influences on hydrology, geomorphic hazards, and water quality. Hydrologic Processes, 23, 42–61.Google Scholar
- Ommanney, C.S.L. (1980) The inventory of Canadian glaciers: Procedures, techniques, progress and applications. Proceedings of the Riederalp Workshop, September 1978 (IAHS-AISH Publication No. 126), International Association of Hydrological Sciences, Rennes, France.Google Scholar
- Ommanney, C.S.L. (2002a) Mapping Canada’s glaciers. In: R.S. Williams Jr. and J.G. Ferrigno (Eds.), Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World: North America (USGS Professional Paper 1386-J-1), U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, pp. J83–J110.Google Scholar
- Ommanney, C.S.L. (2002b) Glaciers of the Canadian Rockies. In: R.S. Williams Jr. and J.G. Ferrigno (Eds.), Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World: North America (USGS Professional Paper 1386-J-1), U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, pp. J199–J290.Google Scholar
- Østrem, G. (1973) The transient snowline and glacier mass balance in southern British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. Geografiska Annaler, 55A, 120–128.Google Scholar
- Østrem, G. (2006) History of scientific studies at Peyto Glacier. In: M.N. Demuth, D.S. Munro, and G.J. Young (Eds.), Peyto Glacier: One Century of Science (NHRI Science Report No. 8), National Hydrology Research Institute, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, pp. 1–24.Google Scholar
- Schiefer, E., Menounos, B., and Wheate, R. (2007) Recent volume loss of British Columbia glaciers, Canada. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L16503, doi: 10.1029/2007GL030780.
- Schiefer, E., Menounos, B., and Wheate, R. (2008) A comprehensive inventory of glaciers and glacier morphometry, British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Glaciology, 54, 551–560.Google Scholar
- Shea, J.M., Marshall, S.J., and Livingston, J.M. (2004) Glacier distributions and climate in the Canadian Rockies. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 36(2), 272–278.Google Scholar
- Sidjak, R., and Wheate, R. (1999) Glacier mapping of the Illecillewaet Icefield, British Columbia, Canada, using Landsat TM and digital elevation data. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 20, 273–284.Google Scholar
- Stahl, K., Moore, R., Shea, J., Hutchinson, D., and Cannon, A. (2008) Coupled modelling of glacier and streamflow response to future climate scenarios. Water Resources Research, 44, W02422. doi: 10.1029/2007 WR005956.
- VanLooy, J., and Forster, R. (2008) Glacial changes of five southwest British Columbia icefields, Canada, mid-1980 s to 1999. Journal of Glaciology, 54, 469–478.Google Scholar