Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-202
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-202

  01 Sep 2021

01 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Correlation dispersion as a measure to better estimate uncertainty of remotely sensed glacier displacements

Bas Altena1,2, Andreas Kääb2, and Bert Wouters1,3 Bas Altena et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 3Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. In recent years a vast amount of glacier surface velocity data from satellite imagery has emerged based on correlation between repeat images. Thereby, much emphasis has been put on fast processing of large data volumes. The metadata of such measurements are often highly simplified when the measurement precision is lumped into a single number for the whole dataset, although the error budget of image matching is in reality not isotropic and constant over the whole velocity field. The spread of the correlation peak of individual image offset measurements is dependent on the image content and the non-uniform flow of the ice. Precise dispersion estimates for each individual velocity measurement can be important for inversion of, for instance, rheology, ice thickness and/or bedrock friction. Errors in the velocity data can propagate into derived results in a complex and exaggerating way, making the outcomes very sensitive to velocity noise and errors. Here, we present a computationally fast method to estimate the matching precision of individual displacement measurements from repeat imaging data, focussing on satellite data. The approach is based upon Gaussian fitting directly on the correlation peak and is formulated as a linear least squares estimation, making its implementation into current pipelines straightforward. The methodology is demonstrated for Sermeq Kujalleq, Greenland, a glacier with regions of strong shear flow and with clearly oriented crevasses, and Malaspina Glacier, Alaska. Directionality within an image seems to be dominant factor influencing the correlation dispersion. In our cases these are crevasses and moraine bands, while a relation to differential flow, such as shear, is less pronounced.

Bas Altena et al.

Status: open (until 09 Nov 2021)

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Bas Altena et al.

Bas Altena et al.

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Short summary
Repeat overflights of satellites are used to estimate surface displacements. However, such products lack a simple error description for individual measurements. But variation in precision occur since calculation is based on similarity of texture. Fortunately, variation in precision manifests itself in the correlation peak, which is used for the displacement calculation.  This spread is used to make a connection to measurement precision. Which can be of great use for model inversion.