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

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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 0.2–3.0 m 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.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-12-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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