Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

NSIDC Special Seminar

Using Drones to Study Mountain Snow and Ice by Dr. Oliver Wigmore CU/CIRES' Earth Lab and INSTAAR

Mountain regions provide critical water resources to downstream regions. Much of this water is stored as seasonal snow and glaciers. However, mountain regions are also highly heterogeneous with significant spatiotemporal variations driven in large part by topographic gradients. Often this variability occurs at sub 10m to sub 1m spatial scales, thus widely used satellite platforms may not resolve these dynamic processes, and point measurements may not scale up across the landscape. The rise of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones has facilitated the on demand capture of high-resolution (centimeter scale) multispectral imagery and digital elevation models on demand, at low cost. Opening up new avenues for research within the mountain cryosphere. This presentation will provide examples of how we are using UAS to study changes in the cryosphere of the Peruvian Andes and the Colorado Rockies. First, we will present research using UAS to study debris covered glacier dynamics and proglacial hydrology at 4000-5000m asl in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Second, we will present research investigating snow depth variability and ecohydrologic processes at the Niwot Ridge LTER using weekly return multispectral (visible, near infrared, thermal infrared) UAS surveys.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018
11:00am to 12:00pm


RL-2, Room 155

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