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Status of Glaciers in the Western United States based on Sentinel-2A Images and Machine Learning Algorithm
  • Bernard Latif Abubakari,
  • Shrinidhi Ambinakudige
Bernard Latif Abubakari
Mississippi State University
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Shrinidhi Ambinakudige
Mississippi State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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In this study, we employed random forest machine learning classification to assess the current state of glaciers in the western United States using Sentinel-2A satellite imagery. By analyzing Sentinel-2A imagery from September 2020 and comparing it to the RGI inventory, the study determined the current conditions of the glaciers. Our findings unveiled a significant reduction in both glacier area and volume in the western United States since the mid-20th century. Currently, the region hosts 4091 glaciers spanning seven states, covering a total area of 432.01 km2 with a corresponding volume of 9.02 km3. During the study period, a loss of 237.07 km2 in glacier area was observed, representing a 35.43% decrease when contrasted with the RGI boundaries. The volume lost during this period amounted to 4.9 km3, roughly equivalent to 4.7 gigatons of water. Among the states, Washington experienced the most significant glacier area reduction, with a loss of 130.06 km2. Notably, glaciers in the North Cascade Range of Washington, such as those in Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan, now cover, on average, only 85% of their original glacier boundaries with ice and snow at the conclusion of the 2020 hydrological year. Major glaciers, including the White River glacier, West Nooksack glacier, and White Chuck glacier, have lost more than 50 percent of their original area.
05 Dec 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
10 Dec 2023Published in ESS Open Archive