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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 10, 15-27, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-15-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 10, 15-27, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-15-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 15 Jan 2016

Research article | 15 Jan 2016

Estimating supraglacial lake depth in West Greenland using Landsat 8 and comparison with other multispectral methods

A. Pope1,2,3, T. A. Scambos1,2, M. Moussavi2,4, M. Tedesco5,7, M. Willis6,8, D. Shean3, and S. Grigsby2 A. Pope et al.
  • 1National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Earth Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 4Earth Science and Observation Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 5The City College, of New York, CUNY, New York City, New York, USA
  • 6Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
  • 7Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
  • 8Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Abstract. Liquid water stored on the surface of ice sheets and glaciers impacts surface mass balance, ice dynamics, and heat transport. Multispectral remote sensing can be used to detect supraglacial lakes and estimate their depth and area. In this study, we use in situ spectral and bathymetric data to assess lake depth retrieval using the recently launched Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI). We also extend our analysis to other multispectral sensors to evaluate their performance with similar methods. Digital elevation models derived from WorldView stereo imagery (pre-lake filling and post-drainage) are used to validate spectrally derived depths, combined with a lake edge determination from imagery. The optimal supraglacial lake depth retrieval is a physically based single-band model applied to two OLI bands independently (red and panchromatic) that are then averaged together. When OLI- and WorldView-derived depths are differenced, they yield a mean and standard deviation of 0.0±1.6m. This method is then applied to OLI data for the Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Isbræ) region of Greenland to study the spatial and intra-seasonal variability of supraglacial lakes during summer 2014. We also give coefficients for estimating supraglacial lake depth using a similar method with other multispectral sensors.

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Liquid water stored on the surface of ice sheets and glaciers, such as that in surface (supraglacial) lakes, plays a key role in the glacial hydrological system. Multispectral remote sensing can be used to detect lakes and estimate their depth. Here, we use in situ data to assess lake depth retrieval using the recently launched Landsat 8. We validate Landsat 8-derived depths and provide suggestions for future applications. We apply our method to a case study are in Greenland for summer 2014.
Liquid water stored on the surface of ice sheets and glaciers, such as that in surface...
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