Topic Editors

Dr. Anshuman Bhardwaj
School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX, UK
Dr. Lydia Sam
School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX, UK
Dr. Saeideh Gharehchahi
Department of Chemistry and Geosciences, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 36265, USA

Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation

Abstract submission deadline
31 December 2022
Manuscript submission deadline
30 June 2023
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cryosphere consists of frozen water and includes lake/river/sea ice, glaciers, ice caps/sheets, snow cover, and permafrost. Because highly reflective snow and ice are the main components of the cryosphere, it plays an important role in the global energy balance. Thus, any qualitative or quantitative change in the physical properties and extents of the cryosphere affects global air circulation, ocean and air temperatures, sea level, and ocean current patterns. Continuous monitoring of cryosphere components is imperative for understanding the complexities of the Climate–Land–Energy–Water nexus in changing the global climate. Large-scale shifts in the areal and altitudinal regimes of cryosphere components are bound to promote disasters and hydrological irregularities at regional scales, further necessitating their worldwide monitoring. Year-round, field-based cryosphere monitoring is limited by several factors, such as a hostile climate, poor approachability, and inadequate skilled labor and funding. In such scenarios, remote sensing coupled with field data collection is largely utilized as a practical alternative in order to meet the growing needs of cryosphere research.

With the continuous advancements in data collection systems in extreme environments, improving imaging and remote sensing platforms, and enhancements in the computational efficiencies of hardware and related software programs, the number of research applications in cryosphere sciences has considerably increased in recent years. Many universities have started dedicated programs or courses on the cryosphere, and well-known international journals have increased the frequency of topics covering cryosphere research.

This topical collection invites multidisciplinary submissions pertaining to studying and assessing changes in cryosphere components, the impacts of these changes on communities, and adaptation strategies for mitigating these impacts in high altitude/high latitude regions. Considering the wide scope of this topic, submissions are open across five major MDPI journals (Atmosphere, Geosciences, Quaternary, Remote Sensing, Water) to encourage contributions in all areas of contemporary/future cryosphere research. The topics are not only limited to terrestrial glacial/periglacial landscapes but will be equally interesting for planetary researchers working on the ice–debris complexes or other glacial geomorphological aspects of planets such as Mars. The topics can be related (but not restricted) to the use of field-based techniques and/or spaceborne/aerial/terrestrial remote sensing for cryosphere mapping/modeling, quantification of areal and volumetric changes, glacio-hydrology, dynamics, glacial or periglacial geomorphology, cryoseismology, glacial/cryosphere hazards, and synergy between fieldwork and remote sensing.

We look forward to your excellent contributions!

Dr. Anshuman Bhardwaj
Dr. Lydia Sam
Dr. Saeideh Gharehchahi
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • cryosphere
  • snow cover
  • permafrost
  • glacier
  • sea ice
  • river ice
  • lake ice
  • remote sensing
  • glacier mapping
  • glacier area changes
  • volumetric estimations
  • glacio-hydrology
  • glacier flow dynamics
  • glacial or periglacial geomorphology
  • cryoseismology

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Atmosphere
atmosphere
2.686 2.9 2010 16 Days 2000 CHF Submit
Geosciences
geosciences
- 3.4 2011 22 Days 1500 CHF Submit
Quaternary
quaternary
- - 2018 25.7 Days 1600 CHF Submit
Remote Sensing
remotesensing
4.848 6.6 2009 19.8 Days 2500 CHF Submit
Water
water
3.103 3.7 2009 19.1 Days 2200 CHF Submit

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Article
Analysis of the Variability and Influencing Factors of Ice Thickness during the Ablation Period in Qinghai Lake Using the GPR Ice Monitoring System
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(10), 2437; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs14102437 - 19 May 2022
Abstract
As a reliable indicator of regional climate change, the growth and decline of lake ice thickness affect the regional intra–annual heat and energy balance. In this study, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) ice monitoring system, located approximately 1.7 km west of Bird Island in [...] Read more.
As a reliable indicator of regional climate change, the growth and decline of lake ice thickness affect the regional intra–annual heat and energy balance. In this study, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) ice monitoring system, located approximately 1.7 km west of Bird Island in Qinghai Lake, in the territory of Qinghai Province and located in northwest China, was designed to carry out continuous fixed–point observations of local ice thickness and meteorological elements from 7 to 24 March 2021. The characteristics of continuous daily changes in ice thickness during the ablation period of Qinghai Lake and their relationship with meteorological elements were analyzed. The results showed that the average daily ice thickness of Qinghai Lake increased and then decreased during the observation period, with an average ice thickness of 42.83 cm, an average daily ice thickness range of 39.35~46.15 cm, and a growth rate of 0.54 cm/day during 8–13 March 2021, with an ice melting rate of −0.61 cm/day during 14–24 March 2021. The daily ice thickness variations were divided into two phases, which were relatively stable before dawn and followed a decreasing, increasing, and then decreasing trend during 8–13 March 2021 and a decreasing, increasing (for several hours), and then decreasing trend during 14–24 March 2021. There was a significant positive correlation (R = 0.745, p < 0.01) between near-surface air temperature and ice surface temperature during the observation period, but a significant negative correlation (R = −0.93, p < 0.05) between the average daily ice thickness and cumulative temperature of the ice surface. Temperature was the dominant factor affecting lake ice thickness, as compared to near-surface air humidity, wind speed, and illuminance. However, a sudden increase in wind speed have also played an important role at certain periods. A large number of cracks appeared on the ice surface on 26 March 2021, which, combined with the forces of wind speed, wind direction, and temperature, contributed to the rapid melt of the lake ice. This study filled the gap in situ measurement data on the continuous ice thickness variability during the ablation period in Qinghai Lake. It provided scientific support for the further study of lake ice on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP). Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Article
The Spatiotemporal Change of Glacier Runoff Is Comparably Attributed to Climatic Factors and Physical Properties in Northwestern China
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(10), 2393; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs14102393 - 16 May 2022
Abstract
The spatiotemporal regimes of glacier runoff (GR) under a warming climate are of great concern, especially in dryland areas in northwestern China (DAC). Due to the difficulty of observing GR, little attention has been given to the spatiotemporal change in GR at regional [...] Read more.
The spatiotemporal regimes of glacier runoff (GR) under a warming climate are of great concern, especially in dryland areas in northwestern China (DAC). Due to the difficulty of observing GR, little attention has been given to the spatiotemporal change in GR at regional scales. This study uses the regional individual glacier mass balance (GMB) dataset developed by digital elevation models (DEMs) to simulate the spatiotemporal regime of GR using atmospheric parameters considering both ablation and accumulation processes on glaciers. In this study, GR, including glacier meltwater runoff (MR) and delayed water runoff (DR) of the DAC, was quantitatively assessed at a catchment scale from 1961 to 2015. The total annual GR in the DAC was (100.81 ± 68.71) × 108 m3 in 1961–2015, where MR accounted for 68%. Most basins had continuously increasing tendencies of different magnitudes from 1961 to 2015. The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) and random forest techniques were used to explore the contributions of climate factors and glacier physical properties to GR, and the results indicated that climate factors could explain 56.64% of the variation. In comparison, the remaining 43.36% could be explained by the physical properties of glaciers themselves (i.e., degree-day factor on ice, degree-day factor on snow, glacier median height, aspect, and slope). This study not only improves our understanding of the spatiotemporal change in GR in the drylands of northwestern China at spatial and temporal resolutions but also highlights the role of physical properties in explaining the heterogeneous dynamics among GRs unlike previous studies that only emphasize rising temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Article
Automated Glacier Snow Line Altitude Calculation Method Using Landsat Series Images in the Google Earth Engine Platform
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(10), 2377; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs14102377 - 14 May 2022
Abstract
Glacier snow line altitude (SLA) at the end of the ablation season is an indicator of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), which is a key parameter for calculating and assessing glacier mass balance. Here, we present an automated algorithm to classify bare ice [...] Read more.
Glacier snow line altitude (SLA) at the end of the ablation season is an indicator of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), which is a key parameter for calculating and assessing glacier mass balance. Here, we present an automated algorithm to classify bare ice and snow cover on glaciers using Landsat series images and calculate the minimum annual glacier snow cover ratio (SCR) and maximum SLA for reference glaciers during the 1985–2020 period in Google Earth Engine. The calculated SCR and SLA values are verified using the observed glacier accumulation area ratio (AAR) and ELA. We select 14 reference glaciers from High Mountain Asia (HMA), the Caucasus, the Alps, and Western Canada, which represent four mountainous regions with extensive glacial development in the northern hemisphere. The SLA accuracy is ~73%, with a mean uncertainty of ±24 m, for 13 of the reference glaciers. Eight of these glaciers yield R2 > 0.5, and the other five glaciers yield R2 > 0.3 for their respective SCR–AAR relationships. Furthermore, 10 of these glaciers yield R2 > 0.5 and the other three glaciers yield R2 > 0.3 for their respective SLA–ELA relationships, which indicate that the calculated SLA from this algorithm provides a good fit to the ELA observations. However, Careser Glacier yields a poor fit between the SLA calculations and ELA observations owing to tremendous surface area changes during the analyzed time series; this indicates that glacier surface shape changes due to intense ablation will lead to a misclassification of the glacier surface, resulting in deviations between the SLA and ELA. Furthermore, cloud cover, shadows, and the Otsu method limitation will further affect the SLA calculation. The post-2000 SLA values are better than those obtained before 2000 because merging the Landsat series images reduces the temporal resolution, which allows the date of the calculated SLA to be closer to the date of the observed ELA. From a regional perspective, the glaciers in the Caucasus, HMA and the Alps yield better results than those in Western Canada. This algorithm can be applied to large regions, such as HMA, to obtain snow line estimates where manual approaches are exhaustive and/or unfeasible. Furthermore, new optical data, such as that from Sentinel-2, can be incorporated to further improve the algorithm results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Article
Antarctic Basal Water Storage Variation Inferred from Multi-Source Satellite Observation and Relevant Models
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(10), 2337; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14102337 - 12 May 2022
Abstract
Antarctic basal water storage variation (BWSV) refers to mass changes of basal water beneath the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS). Identifying these variations is critical for understanding Antarctic basal hydrology variations and basal heat conduction, yet they are rarely accessible due to a lack [...] Read more.
Antarctic basal water storage variation (BWSV) refers to mass changes of basal water beneath the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS). Identifying these variations is critical for understanding Antarctic basal hydrology variations and basal heat conduction, yet they are rarely accessible due to a lack of direct observation. This paper proposes a layered gravity density forward/inversion iteration method to investigate Antarctic BWSV based on multi-source satellite observations and relevant models. During 2003–2009, BWSV increased at an average rate of 43 ± 23 Gt/yr, which accounts for 29% of the previously documented total mass loss rate (−76 ± 20 Gt/yr) of AIS. Major uncertainty arises from satellite gravimetry, satellite altimetry, the glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) model, and the modelled basal melting rate. We find that increases in basal water mainly occurred in regions with widespread active subglacial lakes, such as the Rockefeller Plateau, Siple Coast, Institute Ice Stream regions, and marginal regions of East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which indicates the increased water storage in these active subglacial lakes, despite the frequent water drainage events. The Amundsen Sea coast experienced a significant loss during the same period, which is attributed to the basal meltwater discharging into the Amundsen Sea through basal channels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Article
Antarctic Firn Characterization via Wideband Microwave Radiometry
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(9), 2258; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs14092258 - 07 May 2022
Abstract
Recent studies have demonstrated that wideband microwave radiometers provide significant potential for profiling important subsurface polar firn characteristics necessary to understand the dynamics of the cryosphere and predict future changes in ice and snow coverage. Different frequencies within the wide spectra of radiometers [...] Read more.
Recent studies have demonstrated that wideband microwave radiometers provide significant potential for profiling important subsurface polar firn characteristics necessary to understand the dynamics of the cryosphere and predict future changes in ice and snow coverage. Different frequencies within the wide spectra of radiometers result in different electromagnetic propagation losses and thus reveal characteristics at different depths in ice and snow. This paper, expanding on those investigations, explores the utilization of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) constellation as a single wideband (6.93 GHz–91.655 GHz) spaceborne radiometer, covering the entire microwave spectrum from C-band to W-band, to profile subsurface properties of the Antarctic firn. Results of the initial analyses over Concordia and Vostok Stations in Antarctica indicate that GPM brightness temperature measurements provide critical information regarding the subsurface temperatures and physical properties of the firn from the surface down to several meters of depth. Considering the high spatiotemporal coverage of polar-orbiting spaceborne radiometers, these results are promising for future continent-level thermal and physical characterization of the Antarctic firn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Article
Variations in Glacier Runoff Contributed by the Increased Negative Mass Balance over the Last Forty Years in the Tien Shan Mountains
Water 2022, 14(7), 1006; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w14071006 - 22 Mar 2022
Abstract
In the context of global warming, the melting of glaciers in the Tien Shan Mountains as the important “solid reservoir” in the arid area of Central Asia is accelerating in recent decades, leading to profound changes in regional water resources. Based on the [...] Read more.
In the context of global warming, the melting of glaciers in the Tien Shan Mountains as the important “solid reservoir” in the arid area of Central Asia is accelerating in recent decades, leading to profound changes in regional water resources. Based on the simulated glaciological data from the Python Glacier Evolution Model (PyGEM) and the measured glaciological data from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), this paper analyzed the applicability of simulated data, the changes in glacier mass balance, and the responses of the glacier to climate change and its impacts on glacier runoff in the Tien Shan Mountains. The results show that (1) the PyGEM simulation dataset is in good agreement with the measurements, which can effectively reproduce the change in the glacier mass balance in the Tien Shan Mountains glaciers and is suitable for studying the regional scale glacier change. (2) From 1980 to 2016, the decadal average mass balance change rate of glaciers in the Tien Shan Mountains was −0.012 m w.e. yr−1. The regional mass balance showed an overall negative increasing trend (the area with increasingly negative accounted for 80.13% of the entire area), with a positive increase that only occurred in the West Tien Shan Mountains and western North Tien Shan Mountains (19.87%). (3) The correlation between the temperature and mass balance is much higher than that between the precipitation and mass balance. Temperature dominates the change and development of regional glaciers. The increase in negative glacier mass balance that was observed in the study area is mainly affected by the rising temperature, the decreasing solid precipitation in the accumulation period, and the rapid melting in the ablation period. (4) The glacier runoff in the six representative rivers showed an increasing trend. The contribution rate of glacier runoff to river runoff changed significantly after 2000 but differed among rivers. Overall, the larger the glacier area in the source region is, the greater the contribution rate of glacier runoff is, and the more the contribution rate continuously increases or fluctuates; otherwise, the contribution rate keeps declining, which means the runoff peak may have passed and future runoff may decrease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cryosphere: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation)
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