Research Topic

Observational Assessments of Glacier Mass Changes at Regional and Global Level

About this Research Topic

Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets cover an area of approximately 706,000 km2 globally, with an estimated total volume of 170,000 km3, or 0.4 m of potential sea-level rise equivalent. Retreating and thinning glaciers are icons of climate change and affect the ...

Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets cover an area of approximately 706,000 km2 globally, with an estimated total volume of 170,000 km3, or 0.4 m of potential sea-level rise equivalent. Retreating and thinning glaciers are icons of climate change and affect the local hazard scenario, regional water resources and glacier runoff as well as changes in global sea level.

Glaciological mass-balance observations are available from a worldwide network of a few hundred glaciers. Air and space-borne sensors provide high-resolution digital elevation models and allow the assessment of thickness and volume changes for thousands of individual glaciers within a region on decadal time scales. Satellite altimetry and gravimetry allow for regional mass change assessments since the early 21st century.

With the present Research Topic, we call for studies that make use of these emerging datasets and provide new estimates on regional and global mass balances in time for consideration by IPCC AR6. In particular, we welcome studies, which assess regional or global glacier changes with a focus on:

• Geodetic methods from airborne campaigns (e.g. national surveys, IceBridge) and space-borne sensors (e.g. SRTM, TanDEM-X, WorldView, CryoSat-2);
• Satellite altimetry (e.g. ICESat);
• Satellite gravimetry (e.g. GRACE);
• Uncertainty assessments dealing with the challenges of the geodetic method such as sensor-specific issues, data void interpolation, glacier area changes, density conversion or sampling bias;
• Regional comparison of the results from different in-situ, air and space-borne methods; and
• Data-scarce regions such as the Canadian Arctic, Russian Arctic, Northern Asia, South America, Greenland periphery and Antarctic periphery.

We welcome article types such as original research, methods, reviews, and data reports.
In line with Frontiers' data availability policy (section 2.4.6), we encourage that any observational results are made available to editors and reviewers during peer-review or deposited in a similar public repository upon acceptance of the article. The Guest Editors would recommend the World Glacier Monitoring Service (www.wgms.ch).

Image credit: Terra satellite image of Axel Heiberg from August 29, 2008 (NASA Earth Observatory).


Keywords: glaciers, mass change, climate change, cryosphere, sea-level rise


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 December 2019 Manuscript
31 January 2020 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 December 2019 Manuscript
31 January 2020 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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