29 Jan 2021

29 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

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

Rajashree Tri Datta1,2,3 and Bert Wouters4,5 Rajashree Tri Datta and Bert Wouters
  • 1Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Department of Physics, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, NL
  • 5Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, NL

Abstract. We introduce an algorithm (Watta), which automatically calculates supraglacial lake bathymmetry and potential ice layers along tracks of the ICESat-2 laser altimeter. Watta uses photon heights estimated by the ICESat-2 ATL03 product and extracts supraglacial lake surface, bottom, corrected depth 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 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 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 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.

Rajashree Tri Datta and Bert Wouters

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Reviewer response to tc-2021-4', Jennifer Arthur, 22 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Rajashree Datta, 11 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Reviewer comments on tc-2021-4, "Supraglacial lake bathymetry automatically derived from ICESat-2 constraining lake depth estimates from multi-source satellite imagery"', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Rajashree Datta, 11 May 2021

Rajashree Tri Datta and Bert Wouters

Data sets

Supraglacial lake depths from ICESat-2 and multiple imagery sources over Western Greenland Rajashree Tri Datta and Bert Wouters

Rajashree Tri Datta and Bert Wouters


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Short summary
The ICESat-2 laser altimeter can detect the surface and bottom of a supraglacial lake. We introduce the Watta algorithm, automatically calculating lake surface, corrected bottom, (sub)surface ice at a high resolution adapting to signal strength. ICESat-2 depths constrain full lake depths of 46 lakes over Jakobshavn glacier using multiple sources of imagery, including very high-resolution Planet imagery, used here for the first time to extract supraglacial lake depths empirically using ICESat-2.