Machine Learning for Glacier Monitoring in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (Papers Track) Spotlight
Shimaa Baraka (Mila); Benjamin Akera (Makerere University); Bibek Aryal (The University of Texas at El Paso); Tenzing Sherpa (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development); Finu Shrestha (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development); Anthony Ortiz (Microsoft); Kris Sankaran (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Juan M Lavista Ferres (Microsoft); Mir A Matin (International Center for Integrated Mountain Development); Yoshua Bengio (Mila)
Glacier mapping is key to ecological monitoring in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. Climate change poses a risk to individuals whose livelihoods depend on the health of glacier ecosystems. In this work, we present a machine learning based approach to support ecological monitoring, with a focus on glaciers. Our approach is based on semi-automated mapping from satellite images. We utilize readily available remote sensing data to create a model to identify and outline both clean ice and debris-covered glaciers from satellite imagery. We also release data and develop a web tool that allows experts to visualize and correct model predictions, with the ultimate aim of accelerating the glacier mapping process.