A GIS tool for automatic calculation of glacier equilibrium-line altitudes

Ramon Pellitero-Ondicol, Brice R. Rea, Matteo Spagnolo

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138 Citations (Scopus)
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A toolbox for the automated calculation of glacier equilibrium-line altitudes (ELAs) using the Accumulation Area Ratio, Area-Altitude Balance Ratio, Area-Altitude and Kurowski methods is presented. These are the most commonly-used methods of ELA calculation in palaeo-glacier reconstructions. The toolbox has been coded in Python and runs in ArcGIS requiring only the reconstructed surface of the palaeo-glacier (a DEM) as input. Through fast and automatic calculation this toolbox simplifies the process of ELA determination and can successfully work both for a single glacier and for large datasets of multiple glaciers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalComputers & Geosciences
Early online date6 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

This research has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant IN-2012-140. We acknowledge Jose María Fernández for his help testing the tool, and also the very helpful comments of Doug Benn and an anonymous reviewer on an earlier draft of this paper.


  • equilibrium-line altitude
  • glacier
  • GIS
  • accumulation area ratio
  • accumulation area balance ratio
  • python


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