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Validation of a method for determining the depth of glacial melt ponds using satellite imagery

  • William A. Sneed (a1) and Gordon S. Hamilton (a1)

Abstract

In situ measurements of water depth and optical properties of a melt pond in East Greenland were collected to verify a previously developed algorithm for determining supraglacial water depths using satellite imagery. That algorithm made five simplifying assumptions which we have tested using the in situ data and laboratory analysis of water samples. We conclude that three assumptions were justified, one was not and the remaining one (substrate homogeneity) requires further study, but probably has a minor effect on the retrieved water depths and volumes. Measured water depths of 0.2–3.0m agree well with those derived from a satellite image using the algorithm. Numerically modeled depths also agree well with those from the satellite image. This new analysis demonstrates the validity of our algorithm as a means for determining meltwater volumes in supraglacial ponds and lakes.

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