Landsat-derived bathymetry of lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska

Simpson, Claire E.; Arp, Christopher D.; Sheng, Yongwei; Carroll, Mark L.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Smith, Laurence C.

The Pleistocene sand sea on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaska is underlain by an ancient sand dune field, a geological feature that affects regional lake characteristics. Many of these lakes, which cover approximately 20 % of the Pleistocene sand sea, are relatively deep (up to 25 m). In addition to the natural importance of ACP sand sea lakes for water storage, energy balance, and ecological habitat, the need for winter water for industrial development and exploration activities makes lakes in this region a valuable resource. However, ACP sand sea lakes have received little prior study. Here, we collect in situ bathymetric data to test 12 model variants for predicting sand sea lake depth based on analysis of Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) images. Lake depth gradients were measured at 17 lakes in midsummer 2017 using a Humminbird 798ci HD SI Combo automatic sonar system. The field-measured data points were compared to red–green–blue (RGB) bands of a Landsat-8 OLI image acquired on 8 August 2016 to select and calibrate the most accurate spectral-depth model for each study lake and map bathymetry. Exponential functions using a simple band ratio (with bands selected based on lake turbidity and bed substrate) yielded the most successful model variants. For each lake, the most accurate model explained 81.8 % of the variation in depth, on average. Modeled lake bathymetries were integrated with remotely sensed lake surface area to quantify lake water storage volumes, which ranged from inline-formula M1inlinescrollmathml normal 1.056 × normal 10 - normal 3 63pt14ptsvg-formulamathimgfba03344b9262a44537d5b4a576feaa4 essd-13-1135-2021-ie00001.svg63pt14ptessd-13-1135-2021-ie00001.png to inline-formula M2inlinescrollmathml normal 57.416 × normal 10 - normal 3 69pt14ptsvg-formulamathimg525011b9d532e104cabe88e5e7179f91 essd-13-1135-2021-ie00002.svg69pt14ptessd-13-1135-2021-ie00002.png  kminline-formula3. Due to variations in depth maxima, substrate, and turbidity between lakes, a regional model is currently infeasible, rendering necessary the acquisition of additional in situ data with which to develop a regional model solution. Estimating lake water volumes using remote sensing will facilitate better management of expanding development activities and serve as a baseline by which to evaluate future responses to ongoing and rapid climate change in the Arctic. All sonar depth data and modeled lake bathymetry rasters can be freely accessed at (Simpson and Arp, 2018) and (Simpson, 2019), respectively.



Simpson, Claire E. / Arp, Christopher D. / Sheng, Yongwei / et al: Landsat-derived bathymetry of lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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