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Glaciers_cci goes to High-School

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Making climate change visible by the repeat mapping of glaciers using satellite images and digital elevation models was the aim of the first Glaciers_cci Schoollab held on the 26.05.2017 at the technical high-school (TFO) in Bruneck/South Tyrol - Italy.

 It was a hot summer day in May when Philipp Rastner, scientist at the University of Zurich and project manager of the ESA Glaciers_cci project introduced glaciers and their changes through time to the students. He demonstrated how remote sensing can be used to monitor environmental changes in nearly every place on Earth. With the help of Sentinel 2 images, recent glacier outlines from the central Alps (Zillertaler Alps, Rieserferner Group and Hohe Tauern) were produced by the participants. Subsequently, further outlines and their respective areas were derived from the years 2006 and 1998 with Landsat 7 images using free remote sensing software. Finally, two digital elevation models from the Autonomous Province of South-Tyrol were used to calculate the surface elevation changes from 1997 to 2006. Collectively, the derived numbers indicated a clear glacier area reduction and substantial mass loss also by surface lowering within the last 20 years.
The response of the students was very positive and all of them gained insights about the activities of ESA for monitoring climate change.

Comments from the students:

  • appreciate that many data and software products are freely available
  • advantages of remote sensing for monitoring of the environment became evident
  • informative presentations about glaciers and remote sensing
  • helpful tutorial and competent referent
  • interesting workshop - worthwhile to repeat

Figure: The class 4Ch of the TFO in Bruneck with P. Rastner