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Small Glacier Area Studies: A New Approach for TurkeyMany regions of Earth have glaciers that have been neglected for study because they are small. We report on a new approach to overcome the problem of studying small glaciers, using Turkey as an example. Prior to our study, no reliable estimates of Turkish glaciers existed because of a lack of systematic mapping, difficulty in using Landsat data collected before 1982, snowpack vs. glacier ice differentiation using existing satellite data and aerial photography, the previous high cost of Landsat images, and a lack of high-resolution imagery of small Turkish glaciers. Since 2008, a large number of < 1 m satellite images have become available at no cost to the research community. In addition, Landsat data are now free of charge from the U.S. Geological Survey, enabling the use of multiple images. We used 174 Landsat and eight high-resolution satellite images to document the areal extent of Turkish glaciers from the 1970s to 2007-2011. Multiple Landsat images, primarily Thematic Mapper (TM) data from 1984 to 2011, enabled us to minimize differentiation problems between snow and glacier ice, a potential source of error. In addition, we used Ikonos, Quickbird, and World View-1 & -2 very high-resolution imagery to evaluate our TM accuracies and determine the area of nine smaller glaciers in Turkey. We also used five Landsat-3 Return Beam Videcon (RBV) 30 m pixel resolution images, all from 1980, for six glaciers. The total area of Turkish glaciers decreased from 23 km2 in the 1970s to 10.1 km2 in 2007-2011. By 2007-2011, six Turkish glaciers disappeared, four were < 0.3 km2, and only three were 1.0 km2 or larger. No trends in precipitation from 1970 to 2006 and cloud cover from 1980 to 2010 were found, while surface temperatures increased, with summer minimum temperatures showing the greatest increase. We conclude that increased surface temperatures during the summer were responsible for the 56% recession of Turkish glaciers from the 1970s to 2006-2011.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Yavasli, Dogukan D.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Tucker, Compton J.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
August 13, 2012
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Glaciological Society''s Nordic Conference
Location: Stockholm
Country: Sweden
Start Date: October 24, 2012
End Date: October 27, 2012
Sponsors: International Glaciological Society
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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