17 Jan 2022
17 Jan 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Incorporating kinematic attributes into rock glacier inventories exploiting InSAR data: preliminary results in eleven regions worldwide

Aldo Bertone1,2, Chloé Barboux2, Xavier Bodin3, Tobias Bolch4, Francesco Brardinoni1, Rafael Caduff5, Hanne Hvidtfeldt Christiansen6, Margaret Darrow7, Reynald Delaloye2, Bernd Etzelmüller8, Ole Humlum6,8, Christophe Lambiel9, Karianne Staalesen Lilleøren8, Volkmar Mair10, Gabriel Pellegrinon1, Line Rouyet11, Lucas Ruiz12, and Tazio Strozzi5 Aldo Bertone et al.
  • 1Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, 40126, Italy
  • 2Department of Geosciences, Geography, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, 1700, Switzerland
  • 3Laboratoire EDYTEM, CNRS/Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, Le Bourget-du-Lac, 73370, France
  • 4School of Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, KY16 9AL, United Kingdom
  • 5Gamma Remote Sensing, Gümligen, 3073, Switzerland
  • 6Arctic Geology Department, The University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, 156 N-9171, Svalbard
  • 7Department of Civil, Geological, and Environmental Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99775-5900, USA
  • 8Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, 0316, Norway
  • 9Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, 1015, Switzerland
  • 10Office for Geology and Building Materials Testing, Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Bolzano, 39100, Italy
  • 11Department of Technology, NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS, Troms, 9019, Norway
  • 12Argentine Institute of Nivology, Glaciology and Environmental Sciences, CCT CONICET Mendoza, Mendoza, 5500, Argentina

Abstract. The dependence of rock glaciers on permafrost and thus their sensitivity to climatic parameters makes the spatial distribution of these landforms very important for hydrological and climate changes reasons. Inventories of rock glaciers have been produced for decades worldwide, often without an assessment of their kinematics; the availability of remote sensing data makes the inclusion of kinematic information potentially feasible, but the absence of a common methodology makes it challenging to create homogeneous inventories. In this context, the IPA Action Group on rock glacier inventories and kinematics (2018–2023), with the support of the ESA Permafrost_CCI project, is promoting the definition of standard guidelines for the inclusion of kinematic information within inventories. Here, we test the feasibility of applying common rules proposed by the Action Group in eleven regions worldwide. Satellite interferometry is used to characterize identifiable areas with slope movements related to rock glaciers; subsequently, these areas are used to assign kinematic information to rock glaciers in existing or newly compiled inventories. More than 5,000 slope movements and more than 3,600 rock glaciers are classified according to their kinematics. The analyzes conducted on the method and on the preliminary results show small irregularities related to the detection capacity of interferometry and to lack of rock glaciers without detectable movements in some regions investigated. This is the first internationally coordinated effort of rock glacier inventories. We demonstrate the feasibility of applying common rules to implement kinematic attributes within inventories at a global scale, despite the various regions and intensive manual effort.

Aldo Bertone et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-342', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Aldo Bertone, 15 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-342', Jan Henrik Blöthe, 22 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Aldo Bertone, 15 Apr 2022

Aldo Bertone et al.

Aldo Bertone et al.


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Short summary
We present the guidelines developed by the IPA Action Group (within the ESA Permafrost CCI project) to include InSAR-based kinematic information in rock glacier inventories. Nine operators applied these guidelines to eleven regions worldwide; more than 3,600 rock glaciers are classified according to their kinematics. We test and demonstrate the feasibility of applying common rules to produce homogeneous kinematic inventories at global scale, useful for hydrological and climate change purposes.