Snow and Ice from Space – how computing helps us harness Landsat 8 to study our cryosphere

Allen Pope, National Snow & Ice Data Center

The polar regions and the wider cryosphere are quickly evolving harbingers of worldwide change, driving shifts in water resources and global sea level rise. Therefore, it is important that we measure and monitor snow, glaciers, and ice sheets in a consistent and repeatable manner over time. The spatial, temporal, and radiometric resolution of Landsat 8 support a quantitative measure of polar change over decameter spatial scales and weekly to seasonal timescales. To date, Landsat 8 has collected over three years of imagery of exceptional data. In this presentation, I will provide a tour of various applications of Landsat 8 to study the cryosphere, each of which has been facilitated by cyberinfrastructure – in particular I will discuss dust deposition on snow in Colorado, supraglacial lake monitoring in Greenland, measurement of Antarctic-wide ice velocities, and progress on the building of a Landsat 8 mosaic of Antarctica. Each of these has been facilitated by new practices in research computing, opening a new world of cryospheric research. 

Link to Presentation: CI2016 Pope