MAPPING SURFACE FLOW VELOCITIES OF SIACHEN AND GANGOTRI GLACIERS USING TERRASAR-X AND SENTINEL-1A DATA BY INTENSITY TRACKING
Keywords: Glacier velocity, offset tracking, Karakoram Range, Garhwal Himalayas
Abstract. Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate due to global warming. Two major glaciers of India viz. Gangotri and the Siachen are chosen for the velocity mapping. The line-of-sight (LOS) velocity fields are derived using X-band TerraSAR-X and C-band Sentinel-1A datasets. An intensity-based offset tracking method is used to generate LOS velocities of the glaciers. The single look complex (SLC) images of the TerraSAR-X are converted into intensity before applying the offset tracking method, whereas the ground range detected (GRD) products from Sentinel-1A are directly used to estimate the glacier velocities. The Siachen glacier velocity is mapped using three X-band images from 2011 to 2017 and a C-band image between 2017 and 2018. The X-band images in the case of Siachen are available with the long-time interval between the master and slave images. The velocity of the glacier is observed to be around 30–40 cm day−1 from X-band and around 45–50 cm day−1 from C-band. Three X-band images in the year 2012 and a C-band image in the year 2018 are used for the Gangotri glacier velocity estimation. These images are very closely separated in time, and the velocity of the glacier is found to be 15–20 cm day−1. A dataset with a temporal gap of approximately three years is also used for the Gangotri glacier velocity estimation and observed a large difference in velocity (∼10 cm day−1) from that of shorter interval data. Therefore, for a slow-moving glacier like Gangotri, a dataset with a high temporal gap may not give a reliable result. It is also observed that X-band TerraSAR-X results are more accurate than the C-band Sentinel-1A results. The penetration depth of X-band is less compared to C-band, which might result in accurate estimation of glacier surface flow. According to the results, the velocity of the Siachen glacier is increasing at a very high rate.