Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
25 Jan 2010
 | 25 Jan 2010

On the potential of very high-resolution repeat DEMs in glacial and periglacial environments

J. Abermann, A. Fischer, A. Lambrecht, and T. Geist

Abstract. The potential of high-resolution repeat DEMs was investigated for glaciological applications including periglacial features (e.g. rock glaciers). It was shown that glacier boundaries can be delineated using airborne LIDAR-DEMs as a primary data source and that information on debris cover extent could be extracted using multi-temporal DEMs. Problems and limitations are discussed, and accuracies quantified. Absolute deviations of airborne laser scanning (ALS) derived glacier boundaries from ground-truthed ones were below 4 m for 80% of the ground-truthed values. Overall, we estimated an accuracy of +/−1.5% of the glacier area for glaciers larger than 1 km2. The errors in the case of smaller glaciers did not exceed +/−5% of the glacier area. The use of repeat DEMs in order to obtain information on the extent, characteristics and activity of rock glaciers was investigated and discussed based on examples.