Terrestrial Scanning / Glacier, Iceberg and Snowfield Monitoring

Yida Xie et al.: Applying Artificial Cover to Reduce Melting in Dagu Glacier in the Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 24.03.2023

Global warming has accelerated during the past decades, causing a dramatic shrinking of glaciers across the globe. So far, the attempts to counterbalance glacial melt have proven to be inadequate and are mostly limited to a few glacial landscapes only. In the present study, a scientific glacier protection experiment was conducted at the Dagu Glacier site. Specifically, the study site was the Dagu Glacier No. 17, situated 4830 m a.s.l. The study involved a deliberate verification of the feasibility and effectiveness of using geotextile covers on small glaciers located at high altitudes between August 2020 and October 2021. The observations revealed that the mass loss in the area covered with geotextiles was, on average, 15% lower (per year) compared to that in the uncovered areas combining field campaigns, terrestrial laser scanning, and unmanned aerial vehicle. The reason for this could be that the albedo of the geotextile is higher than that of the glacier surface. In addition, the aging of geotextiles causes a decline in their albedo, leading to a gradual decline in the effectiveness of the resulting glacier protection. It was indicated that geotextiles could be effective in facilitating the mitigation of glacier ablation, although the cost-related limitations render it difficult to upscale the use of artificial cover. Nonetheless, using active artificial cover could be effective in the case of small glaciers, glacier landscapes, and glacier terminus regions.

Terrestrial laser scan data used for this project were acquired using a RIEGL VZ-6000 3D Laser Scanner. In October 2020 and October 2021, DG17 was surveyed to get the necessary high-resolution DEMs for comparison.
The glacier elevation change was calculated by using the raster calculator. The DG17 glacier tongue melted significantly throughout the observation period.
Terrestrial laser scan data was processed using RiSCAN PRO and includes direct georeferencing, point cloud vacuation and filtering, as well as point cloud registration.

The full article is published on the platform MDPI, and can be found here.