Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Richard Armstrong

Richard Armstrong

Armstrong's research interests include: remote sensing of snow, ice, and frozen ground, snow cover and glacier mass extent as indicators of climate change, properties of avalanche snow, and data set and cryospheric product development.

Current Research

The Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) project The fundamental objective of the CHARIS project is to develop a thorough and systematic assessment of the individual contribution of seasonal snow and glacier ice to the water resources originating across the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Pamir, and Tien Shan mountain ranges, referred to here as High Asia. The headwaters of the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Syr Darya, and Amu Darya rivers are all located in High Asia. While it is generally accepted that a significant component of the High Asian water resources results from the melting of glacier ice and seasonal snow, the actual water volume available from these two individual sources across this region remains generally unknown. Previous studies have simply combined the contributions of seasonal snow and glacier ice to estimate downstream water resources, although the former is resupplied each year, in varying amounts, and the latter is, for all practical purposes, a finite resource. Realistic estimates of the future availability and vulnerability of the water resources in this region are not possible until we achieve a better understanding of the individual contributions of seasonal snow and glacier ice to the current hydrologic regime. To accomplish the primary research objectives, my group used a suite of satellite remote-sensing, reanalysis, and ground-based data (provided by Asian project partners), along with gridded maps of snow and glacier area/elevation, as input to spatially distributed temperature-index and energy-balance melt models. See for details. The improved understanding of High Asian water resources is a cross-boundary exercise, and the CHARIS project facilitates international collaboration through formal agreements between the University of Colorado Boulder and key research institutions located in Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The CHARIS project includes a strong capacity-building component in support of our international partners, with training courses occurring on the topics of mountain hydrology, glacier mass balance, glacier and snow cover mapping, and isotopic and geochemical tracers, as well as training in the use and application of satellite remote-sensing data and hydrologic models. Training courses took place in Kazakhstan and Nepal during 2013 and are planned for 2014 in India.

Visit to the newest partner institution, Sherubtse College, Kanglung, Bhutan, of the Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) project, November2013. Kneeling, left to right: Sonam Wangmo, Alana Wallace, Pema Lhendrup, and Betsy Armstrong. Standing, from left to right: Richard Armstrong, Ramakanta Barman, Tshering Wangdi, Sonam Chogyel, Pankaj Thapa, Dharmendra Chaudhur, and Konrad Steffen. Photo credit: Sherubtse College.

Sherubtse College, Kanglung, Bhutan, of the Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) project, November2013

View Publications

  • Eakins, BW, ML Bohan, AA Armstrong, M Westington, J Jencks, E Lim, SJ McLean and RR Warnken (2015), NOAA's Role in Defining the US Extended Continental Shelf. Mar. Technol. Soc. J. Version: 1 49 (2) 204-210, issn: 0025-3324, ids: CI9BD, doi: 10.4031/MTSJ.49.2.17
  • Racoviteanu, AE, R Armstrong and MW Williams (2013), Evaluation of an ice ablation model to estimate the contribution of melting glacier ice to annual discharge in the Nepal Himalaya. Water Resour. Res. Version: 1 49 (9) 5117-5133, issn: 0043-1397, ids: 238ZO, doi: 10.1002/wrcr.20370
  • Painter, TH, MJ Brodzik, A Racoviteanu and R Armstrong (2012), Automated mapping of Earth's annual minimum exposed snow and ice with MODIS. Geophys. Res. Lett. Version: 1 39 , Art. No. L20501, issn: 0094-8276, ids: 027IH, doi: 10.1029/2012GL053340
  • Racoviteanu, AE, F Paul, B Raup, SJS Khalsa and R Armstrong (2009), Challenges and recommendations in mapping of glacier parameters from space: results of the 2008 Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) workshop, Boulder, Colorado, USA. Ann. Glaciol. Version: 1 50 (53) 53-69, issn: 0260-3055, ids: 628HM
  • Savoie, MH, RL Armstrong, MJ Brodzik and JR Wang (2009), Atmospheric corrections for improved satellite passive microwave snow cover retrievals over the Tibet Plateau. Remote Sens. Environ. Version: 1 113 (12) 2661-2669, issn: 0034-4257, ids: 519MS, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2009.08.006
  • Elder, K, D Cline, GE Liston and R Armstrong (2009), NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Field Measurements of Snowpack Properties and Soil Moisture. J. Hydrometeorol. Version: 1 10 (1) 320-329, issn: 1525-755X, ids: 414GX, doi: 10.1175/2008JHM877.1
  • Tedesco, M, M Brodzik, R Armstrong, M Savoie and J Ramage (2009), Pan arctic terrestrial snowmelt trends (1979-2008) from spaceborne passive microwave data and correlation with the Arctic Oscillation. Geophys. Res. Lett. Version: 1 36 , Art. No. L21402, issn: 0094-8276, ids: 516YL, doi: 10.1029/2009GL039672
  • Yang, DQ, YY Zhao, R Armstrong and D Robinson (2009), Yukon River streamflow response to seasonal snow cover changes. Hydrol. Process. Version: 1 23 (1) 109-121, issn: 0885-6087, ids: 393TX, doi: 10.1002/hyp.7216
  • Davis, RE, TH Painter, D Cline, R Armstrong, T Haran, K McDonald, R Forster and K Elder (2008), NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Spaceborne Remote Sensing. J. Hydrometeorol. Version: 1 9 (6) 1427-1433, issn: 1525-755X, ids: 386DD, doi: 10.1175/2008JHM926.1
  • Beedle, MJ, M Dyurgerov, W Tangborn, SJS Khalsa, C Helm, B Raup, R Armstrong and RG Barry (2008), Improving estimation of glacier volume change: a GLIMS case study of Bering Glacier System, Alaska. Cryosphere Version: 1 2 (1) 33-51, issn: 1994-0416, ids: V11AS
  • Raup, B, A Racoviteanu, SJS Khalsa, C Helm, R Armstrong and Y Arnaud (2007), The GLIMS geospatial glacier database: A new tool for studying glacier change. Glob. Planet. Change Version: 1 56 (2-Jan) 101-110, issn: 0921-8181, ids: 149FC, doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.07.018
  • Yang, DQ, YY Zhao, R Armstrong, D Robinson and MJ Brodzik (2007), Streamflow response to seasonal snow cover mass changes over large Siberian watersheds. J. Geophys. Res.-Earth Surf. Version: 1 112 (F2) , Art. No. F02S22, issn: 0148-0227, ids: 168BG, doi: 10.1029/2006JF000518
  • Tedesco, M, EJ Kim, D Cline, T Graf, T Koike, R Armstrong, MJ Brodzik and J Hardy (2006), Comparison of local scale measured and modelled brightness temperatures and snow parameters from the CLPX 2003 by means of a dense medium radiative transfer theory model. Hydrol. Process. Version: 1 62nd Eastern Snow Conference (ESC) 20 (4) 657-672, Waterloo, CANADA, JUN 07-10, 2005, issn: 0885-6087, ids: 026IK, doi: 10.1002/hyp.6129
  • Foster, J, R Kelly, A Rango, R Armstrong, EF Erbe, C Pooley and WP Wergin (2006), Use of low-temperature scanning electron microscopy to compare and characterize three classes of snow cover. Scanning Version: 1 28 (4) 191-203, issn: 0161-0457, ids: 076JC, PubMed ID: 16898666
  • Chang, ATC, REJ Kelly, EG Josberger, RL Armstrong, JL Foster and NM Mognard (2005), Analysis of ground-measured and passive-microwave-derived snow depth variations in midwinter across the northern Great Plains. J. Hydrometeorol. Version: 1 6 (1) 20-33, issn: 1525-755X, ids: 903OT, doi: 10.1175/JHM-405.1
  • Zhang, T, RL Armstrong and J Smith (2003), Investigation of the near-surface soil freeze-thaw cycle in the contiguous United States: Algorithm development and validation. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 108 (D22) , Art. No. 8860, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 744VQ, doi: 10.1029/2003JD003530
  • Oelke, C, TJ Zhang, MC Serreze and RL Armstrong (2003), Regional-scale modeling of soil freeze/thaw over the Arctic drainage basin. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 108 (D10) , Art. No. 4314, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 686CM, doi: 10.1029/2002JD002722
  • Frei, A, RL Armstrong, MP Clark and MC Serreze (2002), Catskill mountain water resources: Vulnerability, hydroclimatology, and climate-change sensitivity. Ann. Assoc. Am. Geogr. Version: 1 92 (2) 203-224, issn: Apr-08, ids: 565YT, doi: 10.1111/1467-8306.00287
  • Armstrong, RL and MJ Brodzik (2002), Hemispheric-scale comparison and evaluation of passive-microwave snow algorithms. Version: 1 ANNALS OF GLACIOLOGY, VOL 34, 2002 4th International Symposium on Remote Sensing in Glaciology 34 38-44, UNIV MARYLAND, COLLEGE PK, MD, JUN 03-08, 2001, Ed. Winther, JG; Solberg, R, issn: 0260-3055, ids: BU99C, isbn: 0-946417-29-6, doi: 10.3189/172756402781817428
  • Armstrong, RL and MJ Brodzik (2001), Recent Northern Hemisphere snow extent: A comparison of data derived from visible and microwave satellite sensors. Geophys. Res. Lett. Version: 1 28 (19) 3673-3676, issn: 0094-8276, ids: 476GF, doi: 10.1029/2000GL012556
  • Zhang, T and RL Armstrong (2001), Soil freeze/thaw cycles over snow-free land detected by passive microwave remote sensing. Geophys. Res. Lett. Version: 1 28 (5) 763-766, issn: 0094-8276, ids: 406RV, doi: 10.1029/2000GL011952
  • Tait, AB, DK Hall, JL Foster and RL Armstrong (2000), Utilizing multiple datasets for snow-cover mapping. Remote Sens. Environ. Version: 1 72 (1) 111-126, issn: 0034-4257, ids: 295CF, doi: 10.1016/S0034-4257(99)00099-1
  • Serreze, MC, MP Clark, RL Armstrong, DA McGinnis and RS Pulwarty (1999), Characteristics of the western United States snowpack from snowpack telemetry (SNOTEL) data. Water Resour. Res. Version: 1 35 (7) 2145-2160, issn: 0043-1397, ids: 211DV, doi: 10.1029/1999WR900090
  • Meier, MF, R Armstrong and MB Dyurgerov (1997), Annual net balance of north cascade glaciers, 1984-94 - Comment. J. Glaciol. Version: 1 43 (143) 192-193, issn: 0022-1430, ids: XK646
  • ARMSTRONG, RL and MJ BRODZIK (1995), AN EARTH-GRIDDED SSM/I DATA SET FOR CRYOSPHERIC STUDIES AND GLOBAL CHANGE MONITORING. Version: 1 SATELLITE MONITORING OF THE EARTH'S SURFACE AND ATMOSPHERE A1 Symposium of COSPAR Scientific Commission A on Satellite Monitoring of the Earths Surface and Atmosphere, at the 13th COSPAR Scientific Assembly 16 (10) 155-163, HAMBURG, GERMANY, JUL 11-21, 1994, Ed. Arnault, S, issn: 0273-1177, ids: BD15W, isbn: 0-08-042635-2, doi: 10.1016/0273-1177(95)00397-W
  • Barry, RG, JM Fallot and RL Armstrong (1995), Twentieth-century variability in snow-cover conditions and approaches to detecting and monitoring changes: Status and prospects. Prog. Phys. Geogr. Version: 1 19 (4) 520-532, issn: 0309-1333, ids: TK679, doi: 10.1177/030913339501900405
  • MCCLUNG, DM and RL ARMSTRONG (1993), TEMPERATE GLACIER TIME RESPONSE FROM FIELD DATA. J. Glaciol. Version: 1 39 (132) 323-326, issn: 0022-1430, ids: MK676
  • BARRY, RG and RL ARMSTRONG (1990), GLACIOLOGY. Geotimes Version: 1 35 (2) 58-59, issn: 0016-8556, ids: CP979
  • BARRY, RG and RL ARMSTRONG (1987), SNOW COVER DATA MANAGEMENT - THE ROLE OF WDC-A FOR GLACIOLOGY. Hydrol. Sci. J.-J. Sci. Hydrol. Version: 1 32 (3) 281-295, issn: 0262-6667, ids: J9360, doi: 10.1080/02626668709491189