Supraglacial lake bathymetry automatically derived from ICESat-2 constraining lake depth estimates from multi-source satellite imagery

R. T. Datta, B. Wouters

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Abstract

We introduce an algorithm (Watta) which automatically calculates supraglacial lake bathymetry and detects potential ice layers along tracks of the ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite) laser altimeter. Watta uses photon heights estimated by the ICESat-2 ATL03 product and extracts supraglacial lake surface, bottom, and depth corrected for refraction and (sub-)surface ice cover in addition to producing surface heights at the native resolution of the ATL03 photon cloud. These measurements are used to constrain empirical estimates of lake depth from satellite imagery, which were thus far dependent on sparse sets of in situ measurements for calibration. Imagery sources include Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Sentinel-2, and high-resolution Planet Labs PlanetScope and SkySat data, used here for the first time to calculate supraglacial lake depths. The Watta algorithm was developed and tested using a set of 46 lakes near Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn) glacier in western Greenland, and we use multiple imagery sources (available for 45 of these lakes) to assess the use of the red vs. green band to extrapolate depths along a profile to full lake volumes. We use Watta-derived estimates in conjunction with high-resolution imagery from both satellite-based sources (tasked over the season) and nearly simultaneous Operation IceBridge CAMBOT (Continuous Airborne Mapping By Optical Translator) imagery (on a single airborne flight) for a focused study of the drainage of a single lake over the 2019 melt season. Our results suggest that the use of multiple imagery sources (both publicly available and commercial), in combination with altimetry-based depths, can move towards capturing the evolution of supraglacial hydrology at improved spatial and temporal scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5115-5132
Number of pages18
JournalThe Cryosphere
Volume15
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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