Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 859–869 | Cite as

Monitoring elevation change of glaciers on Geladandong Mountain using TanDEM-X SAR interferometry

  • Guang LiuEmail author
  • Jing-hui Fan
  • Feng Zhao
  • Ke-biao Mao


Glaciers play an important role in the climate system. The elevation change of a glacier is an important parameter in studies of glacier dynamics. Only a few ground-based measurements of high mountain glaciers are available due to their remoteness, high elevation, and complex topography. The acquisition from the German TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) SAR imaging configuration provides a reliable data sources for studying the elevation change of glaciers. In this study, the bistatic TanDEM-X data that cover the Geladandong Mountain on the Tibetan Plateau were processed with SAR interferometry technique and the elevation changes of the mountain’s glaciers during 2000–2014 were obtained. The results indicated that although distinct positive and negative elevation changes were found for different glacier tongues, the mean elevation change was about -0.14±0.26 m a-1. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) data were obtained for comparison and verification. The investigation using GLAS data demonstrated the efficacy of the proposed method in determining glacier elevation change. Thus, the presented approach is appropriate for monitoring glacier elevation change and it constitutes a valuable tool for studies of glacier dynamics.


Elevation change Glacier Synthetic aperture radar interferometry TanDEM-X Geladandong mountain Tibetan Plateau 


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This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (41590852, 41001264), the International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China (2010DFB23380), International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (131C11KYSB20160061). The TanDEM-X data are supported by the DLR AO project (GEOL0447). The SRTM DEM and Landsat images has been downloaded free of charge from, ICESat GLAS data were obtained from NASA NSIDC. We greatly appreciate the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. We thank Executive Editor-in-Chief QIU Dun-lian for comments and helping improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guang Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jing-hui Fan
    • 2
  • Feng Zhao
    • 3
  • Ke-biao Mao
    • 4
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital EarthChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.China Aero Geophysical Survey & Remote Sensing Center for Land and ResourcesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Instrumentation Science and Opto-electronics EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina

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