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Climate Detectives (investigation category)

Team: Icy girls

Greece 17 years old, 18 years old   8, 1 / 9

Project title:

Assessing Glacier Retreat and Its Impact on Water Resources

Research question

How does the retreat of known glaciers correlate with climatic variables, as observed through satellite imagery in the EO Browser, shedding light on the impacts of climate change?

Identify the local environmental/climate problem you want to investigate

The swift retreat of known glaciers, marks a poignant environmental and climate crisis. Once stable, these frozen reservoirs are rapidly diminishing due to the escalating effects of global warming. With a crucial role in regulating water resources as integral components of the Earth’s hydrological cycle, the accelerated melting of glaciers poses imminent threats to local and downstream water availability. This impact reverberates through ecosystems and communities dependent on glacier-fed rivers. Beyond hydrological concerns, glacier retreat contributes to rising sea levels and alters weather patterns, amplifying the broader consequences of climate change. Swift identification and comprehensive understanding of this specific environmental challenge are imperative for crafting effective mitigation and adaptation strategies. Addressing the multifaceted consequences of glacier retreat on water resources and the interconnected climate system necessitates urgent action.

Project topic

Climate change

Describe how you plan to investigate the problem identified and which data you plan to analyse.

In our research initiative, we aim to delve into the intricate relationship between glacier retreat and climatic variables using satellite imagery accessible through the EO Browser. Our investigative approach involves utilizing the Sentinel-2 optical data to examine changes in glacier extents over a specific time frame, with a keen focus on concurrent variations in temperature and precipitation. The step-by-step methodology includes selecting a region known for its glaciers, opting for Sentinel-2 imagery due to its high resolution, and employing different spectral bands to enhance the visibility of glacier-covered areas. The chosen time frame spans multiple years, allowing us to capture trends and changes over time.
Our plan involves a comparative analysis of images from different dates using the time-lapse feature, enabling us to discern patterns of glacier retreat. The overlay climate data onto the imagery, exploring correlations between glacier changes and climatic variations.
This student-centered research not only provides a unique opportunity to understand the impacts of climate change on glaciers but also fosters critical skills in remote sensing, data analysis, and environmental science. By engaging with EO Browser and examining real-world data, we will actively contribute to our collective understanding of the profound consequences of climate change on Earth’s cryospheric regions.

Your feedback

Expert feedback Phase 1 - 2023-2024
Is the suggested problem a problem that the students can actually investigate? Is it feasible, realistic? Please explain why or why not. Is the relation with climate/local environment worked out? Where necessary indicate the wider scientific context to which the identified problem belongs.