Analysis of ERS 1 synthetic aperture radar data of frozen lakes in northern Montana and implications for climate studies

Journal of Geophysical Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Lakes that freeze each winter are good indicators of regional climate change if key parameters, such as freeze-up and breakup date and maximum ice thickness, are measured over a decade-scale time frame. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data have proven to be especially useful for measurement of climatologically significant parameters characteristic of frozen lakes. In this paper, five lakes in Glacier National Park, Montana, have been studied both in the field and using Earth Remote-Sensing Satellite (ERS) 1 SAR data during the 1992-1993 winter. The lakes are characterized by clear ice, sometimes with tubular or rounded bubbles, and often with a layer of snow ice on top of the clear ice. They are also often snow covered. Freeze-up is detected quite easily using ERS 1 SAR data as soon as a thin layer of ice forms. The effect of snow ice on the backscatter is thought to be significant but is, as yet, undetermined. On the five lakes studied, relative backscatter was found to increase with ice thickness until a maximum was reached in February. Breakup, an often ill-defined occurrence, is difficult to detect because surface water causes the SAR signal to be absorbed, thus masking the ice below. Comparison of the bubble structure of thaw lakes in northern Alaska with lakes in northern Montana has shown that the ice structure is quite different, and this difference may contribute to differential SAR signature evolution in the lakes of the two areas.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Analysis of ERS 1 synthetic aperture radar data of frozen lakes in northern Montana and implications for climate studies
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research
DOI 10.1029/94JC01391
Volume 99
Issue C11
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher William Byrd Press for John Hopkins Press
Publisher location Richmond, VA
Description 1 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Geophysical Research
First page 1
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N