Ice thickness and bathymetry of shallow Arctic lakes from InSAR

Towards the determination of ice thickness and bathymetry of shallow Arctic lakes from RADARSAT-2 interferometry (InSAR)


(Sponsor: Canadian Space Agency)

In the Canadian Arctic/sub-Arctic, shallow lakes (less than 3-4 m deep) can occupy up to 40% of the landscape. They are ice covered for about eight months of the year. The lakes afford habitat for several flora and fauna species, and provide drinking water and overwintering fishing areas for local communities. They also offer more direct winter transportation corridors (ice roads) to remote communities allowing for the import/export of commodities. Knowledge of ice thickness in a changing Arctic climate is imperative for securing the safety of the northern population and transported goods from thin ice hazards, and sustained sustenance through knowledge of availability to resources.

We are working towards the development of ice thickness and bathymetry products for shallow lakes using RADARSAT-2 (and TerraSAR-X) interferometry (InSAR). To achieve this goal, InSAR is used to identify ice growth and ice bottom topography (bathymetry) for lakes that freeze to bed during the winter season. In-situ snow and ice thickness measurements and ice thickness output from a lake ice model are used as validation datasets. Dual-pol RADARSAT-2/TerraSAR-X polarimetric and simulated RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) compact polarimetric SAR data are also being analyzed to further our understanding of scattering mechanisms within freshwater lake ice.

Collaborating institutions: Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Michigan State University, University of Waterloo (lead)