BEGIN seminar – Dr Jan Kropáček

Sebastijan Sekulic
Wednesday 8 May 2019

Date: 2 July 2019
Time: 15:00-16:00
Venue: Forbes room, Irvine Building

Title: Remote sensing of environmental change in mountain areas


The changes in temperature and precipitation patterns and human intervention of different types are changing the face of mountains at an unprecedented speed. Remote sensing provides us with periodic, unbiased information on a global scale with steadily improving quality.

On the Tibetan Plateau changes in glacier balance, oscillation of lake levels, floods and landslides are a consequence of such development. Relying on remote sensing, down-wasting of Tibetan glaciers could be estimated by satellite altimetry on a regional scale. An analysis of snow cover dynamics by optical medium resolution data from MODIS resulted in new knowledge about lake effect and biennial behaviour of snow cover in the drainage basin of sacred Nam Co lake one of the largest lakes in Tibet. Furthermore, a recurrent glacier lake outburst flood in Limi Valley was analyzed and better understood.

In the Ethiopian Highlands, slopes formed by rift development, volcanic activity, and fast river incision are heavily shaped by landsliding. Valuable information about their dynamics can be derived from aerial photographs from multiple aerial surveys which were initiated already in 1936 during the Italian occupation of the country. Investigation of two remarkable sites of landsliding in Ethiopia by various remote sensing techniques will be presented. The first site Debre Sina landslide is located in the vicinity of the trunk road connecting Addis Ababa with Eritrea and it is the largest recent landslide in Ethiopia.  In Dessie, several large landslides are just next to its centre. Surprisingly, their timing and triggers remained unknown.


Jan Kropáček ( is a geographer specialized on remote sensing with special focus on the mountain environment. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Faculty of Sciences of Charles University in Prague. After the accession of his country to the EU, he started to work at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy. His research was focused on mapping of biomass in tropical Africa and wetland detection in boreal forests of Eurasia. During his postdoc stays at the universities of Tubingen and Dresden in Germany, he took part in three projects studying cryosphere and hydrological cycle on the Tibetan Plateau. His further research interests are monitoring of slope instabilities in the Ethiopian Highlands and assessment of gully erosion in semi-arid regions. Since 2016 he continues his research and teaching at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. During his free time, he travels and climbs on sandstone towers in Bohemian Paradise and elsewhere.

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