Perennial Supraglacial Lakes in Northeast Greenland Observed by Polarimetric SAR


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ludwig.schroeder [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Supraglacial liquid water at the margins of ice sheets has an important impact on the surface energy balance and can also influence the ice flow when supraglacial lakes drain to the bed. Optical imagery is able to monitor supraglacial lakes during the summer season. Here we developed an alternative method using polarimetric SAR from Sentinel-1 during 2017-2020 to distinguish between liquid water and other surface types at the margin of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. This allows the supraglacial hydrology to be monitored during the winter months too. We found that the majority of supraglacial lakes persist over winter. When comparing our results to optical data, we found significantly more water. Even during summer, many lakes are partly or fully covered by a lid of ice and snow. We used our classification results to automatically map the outlines of supraglacial lakes, create time series of water area for each lake, and hence detect drainage events. We even found several winter time drainages, which might have an important effect on ice flow. Our method has problems during the peak of the melt season, but for the rest of the year it provides crucial information for better understanding the component of supraglacial hydrology in the glaciological system.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
53255
DOI 10.3390/rs12172798

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Schröder, L. , Neckel, N. , Zindler, R. and Humbert, A. (2020): Perennial Supraglacial Lakes in Northeast Greenland Observed by Polarimetric SAR , Remote Sensing, 12 (17) . doi: 10.3390/rs12172798


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