Johansson, AM; Brown, IA (2012). Observations of supra-glacial lakes in west Greenland using winter wide swath Synthetic Aperture Radar. REMOTE SENSING LETTERS, 3(6), 531-539.
Melt water gathered in supra-glacial lakes on the Greenland ice sheet contributes to reduced basal friction by the input of water from the surface to the bed during the melt season. Supra-glacial lakes change on both annual and inter-annual timescales. The high temporal resolution and moderate spatial resolution Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) can be used to capture annual changes on the highly transient/fast-draining lakes. However, MODIS imagery lacks the ability to penetrate clouds. Using ENVISAT Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) winter images, we show that SAR images can be used to identify seasonal/inter-annual changes in the lake area. Furthermore, winter SAR images identify lakes obscured to optical data by ice and snow cover. However, the SAR imagery systematically failed to discriminate narrow lakes and lakes in corrugated topography. Thus, SAR images can be used as a complement to existing visiblenear-infrared data but do not offer a viable replacement.