Pine Island Glacier rift

The rift of Pine Island Glacier's floating tongue is a cause of concern among glaciologists because it suggests that this part of the ice shelf is not stable and may collapse in the future. As explained in this EOS article [1]

Rifts usually form at the sides of an ice shelf where the ice is thin and subject to shearing that rips it apart. But this particular rift originated in the center of Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf and propagated out to the margins.This implies that something weakened the center of the ice shelf. The most likely explanation is that a crevasse melted out at the bedrock level, driven by a warming ocean, according to the researchers."

Online survey: can we detect an expansion of the rift on the Sentinel-2 images only?

Sentinel-2 images of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf rift. Each subset shows the eastern portion of the rift on a different date. Which one shows the longest rift according to you? Click on the image to vote!

 

The results of the survey are given in the next post.

 

[1] Lipuma, L. (2017), West Antarctic ice shelf breaking up from the inside out, Eos, 98, doi:10.1029/2017EO064743. Published on 04 January 2017

White Christmas in Aleppo

This is a Sentinel-2A image of Aleppo on Dec 22, showing some snow through the clouds. I do not know if this sunny interval lasted a long time, and I wonder if the inhabitants of Aleppo had wished snow for Christmas. I walked through the streets of Aleppo in July 2003 at the end of my bachelor's internship which was held mainly in Damascus and Palmyra. Aleppo is the most fascinating city that I have visited in Syria. I remember the alignments of soap, cloth and hardware stores that narrowed even more the narrow alleys of the old city. I remember the Persian carpets hanging from the balustrades of the ancient caravanserais. I remember countless smiles exchanged with people whose language I did not speak, in the souk, in the mosques, where tourists like me were welcome. I remember the kids playing soccer in front of the walls of the citadel. I wonder if kids played snowballs on December 22, 2016 in Aleppo. I'm sad and I'm a little ashamed too.

Aleppo (Sentinel-2A image of 22-Dec-2016)

Sentinel-2 captures the coastal ground uplift after Kaikoura earthquake in New Zealand

On Monday Nov 14 New Zealand was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.8. The epicenter was located near Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island.

 

Yesterday, the NZ Herald published aerial photographs showing tectonic uplift of the seabed of between 2 and 2.5 metres north of Kaikoura [1]. These photos were taken by @TonkinTaylor who posted them on Twitter.

 

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3D views of Aru Co avalanches from Pléiades stereo imagery

A Pléiades stereo pair has been acquired on 2016-Oct-01 just a few days after the second glacier collapse in the Aru mountains. The panchromatic band has 0.5 m resolution, which allowed us to generate a post-event digital elevation model of the area. From this digital elevation model and the Pléiades 2 m multispectral imagery, Etienne Berthier generated these stunning 3D views of the aftermath...

Preliminary estimates of the volume detached from the glaciers are 66 Mm3 (first, north one) 83 Mm3 (second, southern one).

Patagonian skies are not cloudy anymore

"The most usual weather in these latitudes is a fresh wind between north west and south west with a cloudy overcast sky" - Phillip Parker King, Sailing Directions for the Coasts of Eastern and Western Patagonia (1832).

 

Patagonia is a beautiful place to visit but campers know that the weather is extremely variable and the sky is often cloudy. This can be a problem for glaciologists, too, since they rely on optical satellite imagery to study glacier area changes over the last decades (mainly Landsat). Clear-sky optical images can also be used to determine glacier velocity, albedo, front variations, etc.
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Monitoring the snow cover in ski resorts using Sentinel-2

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We are preparing the distribution of maps of the snow cover extent made from the Sentinel-2 data for Theia. If the method used to detect the snow is based on well-proven concepts, spatial and temporal resolution of the snow maps will however quite unprecedented. Until now, maps of the snow cover extent were usually produced from MODIS observations at 500 m resolution, which is adapted to hydro-climatic studies to rather regional scales. Landsat data were actually little exploited by snow scientists because of their low repeatability. The deployment of Sentinel-2 mission (global coverage at 20 m resolution every 5 days) opens new perspectives for monitoring snow cover.
 
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