Articles | Volume 17, issue 3
Research article
10 Mar 2023
Research article |  | 10 Mar 2023

High-resolution debris-cover mapping using UAV-derived thermal imagery: limits and opportunities

Deniz Tobias Gök, Dirk Scherler, and Leif Stefan Anderson

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Cited articles

Anderson, L. S. and Anderson, R. S.: Debris thickness patterns on debris-covered glaciers, Geomorphology, 311, 1–12,, 2018. 
Anderson, L. S., Armstrong, W. H., Anderson, R. S., Scherler, D., and Petersen, E.: The Causes of Debris-Covered Glacier Thinning: Evidence for the Importance of Ice Dynamics From Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, Front. Earth Sci., 9, 680995,, 2021. 
Aragon, B., Johansen, K., Parkes, S., Malbeteau, Y., Al-mashharawi, S., Al-amoudi, T., Andrade, C. F., Turner, D., Lucieer, A., and McCabe, M. F.: A calibration procedure for field and uav-based uncooled thermal infrared instruments, Sensors (Switzerland), 20, 3316,, 2020. 
Aubry-Wake, C., Baraer, M., McKenzie, J. M., Mark, B. G., Wigmore, O., Hellström, R., Lautz, L., and Somers, L.: Measuring glacier surface temperatures with ground-based thermal infrared imaging, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 8489–8497,, 2015. 
Aubry-Wake, C., Zéphir, D., Baraer, M., McKenzie, J. M., and Mark, B. G.: Importance of longwave emissions from adjacent terrain on patterns of tropical glacier melt and recession, J. Glaciol., 64, 49–60,, 2018. 
Short summary
We performed high-resolution debris-thickness mapping using land surface temperature (LST) measured from an unpiloted aerial vehicle (UAV) at various times of the day. LSTs from UAVs require calibration that varies in time. We test two approaches to quantify supraglacial debris cover, and we find that the non-linearity of the relationship between LST and debris thickness increases with LST. Choosing the best model to predict debris thickness depends on the time of the day and the terrain aspect.