SNOW COVER AND GLACIER DYNAMICS STUDY USING C-AND L-BAND SAR DATASETS IN PARTS OF NORTH WEST HIMALAYA
Keywords: Snow cover, glacier dynamics, SAR data, Glacier velocity, InSAR, North West Himalaya
Abstract. The seasonal snow cover and permanent ice in form of Himalayan glaciers provide fresh water to many perineal rivers of Himalayas. The melt water from seasonal snow and glaciers, especially during of 15 March to 15 June acts as important source of water for drinking, hydropower and irrigation requirements of many areas in North India. This work has highlights the use of C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from RISAT-1, Sentinel-1A and 1B satellites and ALOS-PALSAR-2 PolInSAR data for snow cover and glacier dynamics study for parts of North West Himalaya. Glacier velocity was derived using InSAR based method using 6 day temporal interval images from Sentinel-1 satellites and 14 day interval for PALSAR-2 satellite. High coherence was obtained for main glacier in both the data sets, which resulted accurate line of site (LOS) glacier velocity estimates for test glaciers. These InSAR data glacier velocity results are obtained after a gap of 21 years. Glacier facies was estimated using multi-temporal SAR image composition based classification. All these maps were verified by extensive ground surveys done at these sites during 2014–2017. The time series data of C-band SAR in VV/VH polarisation was also used to map snow cover in test basins of Bhagirathi and Beas River. The VV/VH data clearly shows difference between dry and wet snow, thus helping in improved snow cover mapping using SAR data. This study will help in refining algorithms to be used for such studies using upcoming NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) mission.