IPA Action Group: Rock glacier inventories and kinematics

The International Permafrost Association (IPA) Action Group Rock glacier inventories and kinematics (RGIK) intended to sustain the first steps toward the development of a network dedicated to rock glacier inventories and to promote the integration of permafrost creep rate (rock glacier velocity) as a new associated parameter to Essential Climate Variable (ECV) Permafrost within the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) initiative supported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), characterizing the evolution of mountain permafrost on the global scale. The Action Group was launched in June 2018 and finished in June 2023. The RGIK initiative is now transitioning from a temporary Action Group to a permanent structure, still with the support of the IPA.

The Puigcerdà Commitment defines the goals and lays the foundation for the transition from a temporary Action Group to a sustainable structure of the future RGIK. It was elaborated during the last workshop of the Action Group at the 6th European Conference on Permafrost in Puigcerdà (Spain) in June 2023.

RGIK currently consists of a network of 229 people from 29 countries. If you are interested in participating, please join the mailing list.

  • Objectives of the Action Group

    The Action Group intended to sustain the first steps toward developing of a network dedicated to rock glacier inventorying (mapping) and worldwide rock glacier monitoring monitoring, along with the definition of standards.

    More specifically, the Action Group aimed to coordinate efforts to:

    • define widely accepted guidelines for inventorying and mapping rock glaciers, including information on the activity rate,
    • promote the use of satellite SAR interferometry (e.g. Sentinel data) for monitoring rock glacier velocity at a regional scale and define appropriate guidelines,
    • integrate as far as possible local-scale monitoring datasets based on aerial (photogrammetric) and terrestrial geodetic surveys,
    • initiate the development of a worldwide rock glacier database, including kinematic information,
    • set up guidelines for selecting an appropriate number of rock glaciers per region that can be then used to assess temporal trends in velocity with decadal to intra-decadal time steps,
    • build up and manage a web platform for visualization and open data access.

     

     

  • Organization of the Action Group

    The basic idea of the Action Group was bring together researchers for coordinating efforts, regrouping knowledge and data in a single place (open access database), as well as to define consensual baselines for inventorying rock glaciers and including kinematics information.

    The co-authors of this abstract agreed to participate in the core scientific group of the Action Group during its initial phase.

    The Action Group was chaired by Reynald Delaloye (University of Fribourg, Switzerland).

    A committee was constituted in September 2019 at the Workshop I to support the development of the activities related to the Rock Glacier Inventory (RoGI) part of the Action Group (Task 1), namely (more members have joined since 2019):

    • Xavier Bodin (EDYTEM, France)
    • Francesco Brardinoni (University of Bologna, Italy)
    • Reynald Delaloye (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
    • Christophe Lambiel (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
    • Shelley MacDonell (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)
    • Lucas Ruiz (IANIGLA, Argentina)
    • Line Rouyet (NORCE, Norway)
    • Alessandro Cicoira (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
    • Yan Hu (Chinese University of Hong Kong, China)
    • Mishelle Wehbe (University of Ottawa, Canada)
    • Nicole Schaffer (CEAZA, Chile)

    A second committee was constituted in February 2020 at the Workshop II to support the activities related to the Rock Glacier Velocity (RGV) GCOS ECV Permafrost part of the Action Group (Task 2), namely (more members have joined since 2020):

    • Leif Anderson (University of Utah, USA)
    • Chloé Barboux (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
    • Xavier Bodin (EDYTEM, France)
    • Alessandro Cicoira (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
    • Reynald Delaloye (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
    • Isabelle Gärtner-Roer (University of Zurich, Switzerland – IPA Vice-President)
    • Christophe Lambiel (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
    • Cécile Pellet (University of Fribourg, PERMOS, Switzerland)
    • Line Rouyet (NORCE, Norway)
    • Philippe Schoeneich (University of Grenoble, France – GTN-P Steering Committee)
    • Gernot Seier (AIRlabs, Austria)
    • Julie Wee (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • Tasks

    During the kick-off meeting in June 2018 (EUCOP 5, Chamonix), attendees supported the proposal of structuring the Action Group activities into three main Tasks and subsequent Sub-Tasks as follows:

    Task 1: Rock Glacier Inventories (RoGI)

    Definition of widely accepted guidelines for inventorying (mapping) rock glaciers, including indications of the activity rate

    • Agreement on a “working” definition of rock glaciers (what do we want/need to inventory?)
    • Standards for inventorying (definition of key attributes), e.g. point location, outlining, etc. -> Inventorying strategy
    • Practical guidelines for inventorying rock glaciers (e.g. also including the use of kinematics)

     

    Task 2: Rock Glacier Velocity (RGV)

    Generating rock glacier velocity time series in a climate-oriented perspective, meaning data records which can contribute to a new product of the GCOS Essential Climate Variable (ECV) Permafrost.

    • Promoting the use of satellite SAR interferometry, e.g. Sentinel-1 data, but more generally remote sensing data, for monitoring the rock glacier velocity at regional scales and defining appropriate guidelines
    • Integrate as far as possible local-scale monitoring data based on aerial and terrestrial geodetic surveys
    • Setting up of guidelines for selecting an appropriate number of rock glaciers per region that can be then used to assess temporal trends in velocity with decadal to intra-decadal time steps

     

    Task 3: Operational development of a database/web platform

    • Initiating the development of a worldwide rock glacier database, including kinematics
    • Build up and manage a web platform for visualization and open data access
  • Timeline and activities

    The Action Group is active from mid-2018 to mid-2023. It was launched at EUCOP5 in Chamonix (France) in June 2018. Read more

    Pre-workshop took place in Chambéry (France) on 20 March 2019. Read more

    Workshop I took place in Evolène (Switzerland) on 23–27 September 2019. Read more

    Workshop II took place in Fribourg (Switzerland) on 11–13 February 2020. Read more

    RGIK scientific committees meeting took place in Fribourg (Switzerland) & Online on 24–25 November 2022. Read more

    Workshop III took place in Puigcerdà (Catalonia, Spain) on 17 June 2023 during the EUCOP 2023Read more

  • Outcomes (baseline concepts and guidelines)
  • RGIK community surveys

    The Rock glacier inventories and kinematics (RGIK) Action Group launched two surveys to compile worldwide overviews of existing/planned Rock Glacier Inventories (RoGI) and Rock Glacier Velocity (RGV) time series. The purpose of these surveys was to get an estimate of what exists in our community, as well as an overview of existing/planned RoGIs and RGVs, regardless of their format/content. The surveys are still open for new contributions. Please use the links below to access the surveys:

    Rock Glacier Inventories (RoGI)

    Rock Glacier Velocity (RGV)

    Results (click to enlarge)

  • Tools

    RoGI template (to be use for your own inventory)

    RoGI Template for QGIS

    RoGI exercise in the Goms Valley, Switzerland (easy exercise leve in areas containing mostly mono-unit rock glacier systems)

    RoGI Goms GIS exercise [28.03.2023]

    RoGI exercise in the Matter Valley, Switzerland (more difficult exercise in an area containing also multi-unit rock glacier systems)

    RoGI Dirru-Steintälli GIS exercise [27.06.2023]

News

RGIK Seminars 2024

[18.01.2024] The program for the RGIK seminar series for the first semester 2024 is ready: Julie Wee "Understanding the seasonal surface dynamics of a rock glacier through the assessment of ground ice content and origin" (28.02.2024), Eliseo Flores “Inventory and kinematics of rock glaciers in James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula” (27.03.2024), RGIK interim ExCom "Information from the Interim RGIK Executive Committee on the transition to an IPA Standing Committee" (24.04.2024) and Sebastian Buchelt "Detecting small-scale patterns of rock glacier surface dynamics in the Central Alps using DInSAR time series" (29.05.2024).

New document: Guidelines for inventorying rock glaciers (version 1.0)

[15.01.2024] The latest document of the RGIK "Guidelines for inventorying rock glaciers: baseline and practical concepts (version 1.0)" has been released. The document is the culmination of five years of effort by the RGIK Action Group to consolidate the baseline and practical concepts for inventorying rock glaciers in a globally consistent manner. This document includes the approval list and a DOI.

How to cite: RGIK (2023). Guidelines for rock glacier inventories: baseline and practical concepts (version 1.0). IPA Rock Glacier Inventories and Kinematics Action Group, 25 pp, DOI: 10.51363/unifr.srr.2023.002

Rock glacier sessions – Call for Abstracts

[14.11.2023] We are pleased to announce two sessions related to rock glaciers in 2024. The call for abstracts for the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2024 in Vienna (14–19 April 2024) invites the submission of abstracts for the session on New insights into the dynamics of rock glaciers (GM10.5/CR4.7). The deadline for abstract submission is 10th January 2024, 13:00 hrs CET. The call for extended abstracts for the International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) 2024 in Whitehorse (16–20 June 2024) is now open for the Open session on rock glaciers (4A). The deadline for abstract submission is 30th November 2023.

Machine learning for rock glacier inventories: establishment of a working group

[23.08.2023] The RGIK community is considering establishing a machine learning working group to automate inventories of rock glaciers. The team will compare algorithms, evaluate machine learning analyses, recommend procedures, and develop training materials. At this early stage, we are interesting in gauging the interest within the community for this, as well as what experience members of the community have.

If you are interested, please fill out this brief questionnaire, which should take a few minutes: 

Next steps after Action Group

[12.07.2023] The recent RGIK Workshop III formalized the end of the RGIK as an Action Group, after two periods from June 2018 to June 2023. The RGIK initiative is currently transitioning to become a Standing Committee of the IPA, in order to continue its activities and objectives. Read more on this in the Puigcerdà commitment.

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Contact us

Rock glacier inventories and kinematics (RGIK)

Geography
Department of Geosciences

University of Fribourg
Chemin du Musée 4

CH – 1700 Fribourg

   +41 26 300 90 21

  rockglacier-ipa@unifr.ch