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Hundred years of Swiss glacier changes from historical terrestrial images


Switzerland stands out as one of the countries with the longest records of glacier changes, and long-​term observations are crucial in order to understand the impact of glacier retreat on water resources or hydropower production. Despite this importance, only a few dozen of glaciers have observations extending further back than three decades

The aim of this project is to process a unique archive of several thousand historical terrestrial images in order to document glacier area, length and volume changes at a centennial scale. The photographs were acquired in the 1920s until 1940s by the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo) to generate historical maps. A 3D-​representation of the largest Swiss glaciers will be reconstructed from stereoscopic image pairs and using modern photogrammetric techniques. These will then be compared to modern topography and yield an estimate of the total ice volume change.