An accurate approach is needed for monitoring, quantifying and understanding surface water variability due to climate change. Separating inter- and intra-annual variances from longer-term shifts in surface water extents due to contemporary climate warming requires repeat measurements spanning a several-decade period. Here, we show that trends developed from multi-date measurements of the extents of more than 15,000 water bodies in central Alaska using Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) data (1979–2009) were highly influenced by the quantity and timing of the data. Over the 30-year period from 1979 to 2009, the study area had a net decrease (p < 0.05) in the extents of 3.4% of water bodies whereas 86% of water bodies exhibited no significant change. The Landsat-derived dataset provides an opportunity for additional research assessing the drivers of lake and wetland change in this region.
Additional publication details
Establishing water body areal extent trends in interior Alaska from multi-temporal Landsat data
Remote Sensing Letters
Taylor & Francis
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center