Articles | Volume 15, issue 10
Brief communication
21 Oct 2021
Brief communication |  | 21 Oct 2021

Brief communication: Detection of glacier surge activity using cloud computing of Sentinel-1 radar data

Paul Willem Leclercq, Andreas Kääb, and Bas Altena

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Cited articles

Altena, B., Scambos, T., Fahnestock, M., and Kääb, A.: Extracting recent short-term glacier velocity evolution over southern Alaska and the Yukon from a large collection of Landsat data, The Cryosphere, 13, 795–814,, 2019. a
Copland, L., Sharp, M. J., and Dowdeswell, J. A.: The distribution and flow characteristics of surge-type glaciers in the Canadian High Arctic, Ann. Glaciol., 36, 73–81,, 2003. a
Gardelle, J., Berthier, E., Arnaud, Y., and Kääb, A.: Region-wide glacier mass balances over the Pamir–Karakoram–Himalaya during 1999–2011, The Cryosphere, 7, 1263–1286,, 2013. a
Gardner, A. S., Moholdt, G., Scambos, T., Fahnstock, M., Ligtenberg, S., van den Broeke, M., and Nilsson, J.: Increased West Antarctic and unchanged East Antarctic ice discharge over the last 7 years, The Cryosphere, 12, 521–547,, 2018. a
Gardner, A. S., Fahnestock, M. A., and Scambos, T. A.: ITS LIVE Regional Glacier and Ice Sheet Surface Velocities, National Snow and Ice Data Center [data],, 2020. a
Short summary
In this study we present a novel method to detect glacier surge activity. Surges are relevant as they disturb the link between glacier change and climate, and studying surges can also increase understanding of glacier flow. We use variations in Sentinel-1 radar backscatter strength, calculated with the use of Google Earth Engine, to detect surge activity. In our case study for the year 2018–2019 we find 69 cases of surging glaciers globally. Many of these were not previously known to be surging.