A simple method to extract glacier length based on Digital Elevation Model and glacier boundaries for simple basin type glacier A simple method to extract glacier length based on Digital Elevation Model and glacier boundaries for simple basin type glacier

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Vol14 No.9: 1776-1790

Title】A simple method to extract glacier length based on Digital Elevation Model and glacier boundaries for simple basin type glacier

Author】JI Qin1; YANG Tai-bao1*; HE Yi2; QIN Yan1; DONG Jun3; HU Fan-sheng1

Addresses】1 Institute of Glaciology and Ecogeography, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 73000, China; 2 Faculty of Geomatics, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730000, China; 3 Research Center for Arid Area and Desert, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China

Corresponding author】yangtb@lzu.edu.cn

Citation】Ji Q, Yang TB, He Y, et al. (2017) A simple method to extract glacier length based on Digital Elevation Model and glacier boundaries for simple basin type glacier. Journal of Mountain Science 14(9). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-4243-5

DOI】Glacier length; Flow lines; Glacier boundary; DEM; ArcGIS

Abstract】Glacier length is a key morphological element that has many glaciological applications; however, it is often difficult to determine, especially for glaciers that cover larger spatial areas or those that exhibit frequent temporal change. In this paper, we describe a new ArcGIS-based method that can derive glacier flow lines for determining glacier length based on digital elevation model and glacier outlines. This method involves (1) extraction of the highest and lowest points on a glacier, (2) calculation of 10-m contour lines on the glacier from 10 m to 100 m height, and (3) connection of the midpoints of each contour line with the highest and the lowest points in order to create a flow line, which is subsequently smoothed. In order to assess the reliability of this method, we tested the algorithm's results against flow lines calculated using field measurements, analysing data from the Chinese Glacier Inventory, and manual interpretation. These data showed that the new automated method is effective in deriving glacier flow lines when contour lines are relatively large; in particular, when they are between 70 m and 100 m. Nonetheless, a key limitation of the algorithm is the requirement to automatically delete repeated and closed curves in the pre-treatment processes. In addition to calculating glacier flow lines for derivation of glacier length, this method also can be used to effectively determine glacier terminus change.

Keywords】Glacier length; Flow lines; Glacier boundary; DEM; ArcGIS