Glaciers are vulnerable ecosystems which respond significantly to the seasonal and climatic changes. They are solid reserves of fresh water that can be used both for human consumption and for various productive and industrial activities (agriculture, power generation, mining). Satellite imagery, in its various spectral intervals, both from optical sensors and radar systems, is a very efficient tool for the study and monitoring of the glaciers. Remote sensing information allows to classify and characterize the different types of glaciers – ice or rock-, to measure the extent of the snow-covered area, to generate maps of ice concentration and ice type, to observe the changes that occur over time and to identify areas of growing and ablation of the fronts. In the recent years remote sensing has become an essential tool for the inventory of the glaciers both at the regional and national level.
Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey