glacier monitoring from space at risk

Potential gap in glacier monitoring

After almost 25 years, the lifetime of NASA’s Terra satellite is coming to an end. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer instrument (ASTER) onboard served the glacier monitoring community over the past decades in assessing glacier changes in area and volume (e.g., Ramachandran et al. 2014, Hugonnet et al. 2021). With the end of ASTER, scientists point out to a potential gap in glacier monitoring and call for urgent actions to replace this high-resolution and open-access stereo mission (Berthier et al. 2024).


Berthier, E., Kargel, J.S., Raup, B., and Zemp, M. (2024): Earth-surface monitoring is at risk – more imaging tools are urgently needed. Nature, 630 (563). doi:

Hugonnet, R., McNabb, R., Berthier, E. et al. Accelerated global glacier mass loss in the early twenty-first century. Nature 592, 726–731 (2021).

Ramachandran, B., Dwyer, J., Raup, B. H., & Kargel, J. S. (2014): ASTER datasets and derived products for global glacier monitoring. Global Land Ice Measurements from Space. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2014. 145-162.

last change 4/07/2024