Lake-atmosphere interactions at northern high latitudes: Remote sensing and process studies

(Sponsor: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recognized “Lakes” as one of its Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). Amongst the lake variables identified as sensitive indicators of climate change are lake surface temperature, lake area, lake water level, and more recently added are ice freeze-up and break-up dates.

This decade has seen and will continue to see the launch of an unprecedented number of Earth Observation satellites from space agencies that will offer an extraordinary opportunity to observe changes and variability in these lake properties over high-latitude northern regions. This also happens at a time when unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can fill a critical measurement gap between field measurements and satellite imagery, are increasingly becoming available for rapid deployment in order to capture more local changes in lake properties occurring at even shorter time scales. Using data from these emerging remote sensing technologies, the research aims to:

  1. develop satellite-based retrieval algorithms and products of lake ice properties; and
  2. conduct process studies aimed at advancing our understanding of the response of lakes to atmospheric forcing on sub-daily to seasonal time scales during the ice and open water seasons.