Arctic lakes are sensitive to climate change, and the timing and duration of ice presence and absence (i.e., ice phenology) on the lake surface can be used as a climate indicator. In this study of Linnévatnet, one of the largest lakes on Svalbard, we compare inferences of lake ice duration from satellite data with continuously monitored lake water temperature and photographs from automatic cameras. Visible surface reflectance data from the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) were used to observe the change in the lake-wide mean surface reflectance of Linnévatnet from 2003–2019, and smoothing splines were applied to the to determine the date of summer ice-off (also called “break-up end”—BUE). Similarly, BUE and fall ice-on (or “freeze-up end”—FUE) were determined from lake-wide mean time series of Sentinel-1 microwave backscatter from 2014–2019. Overall, the ice timing dates identified from the satellite observations agree well with the in-situ observations (RMSE values of approximately 2–7 days for BUE and FUE, depending on the method and in-situ dataset), lending confidence to the accuracy of remote sensing of lake ice phenology in remote Arctic regions. Our observations of Linnévatnet indicate that BUE dates do not have a significant trend, while FUE dates have been occurring approximately 1.5 days later per year during the study period. These results support an overall decrease in annual duration of lake ice cover in this part of Svalbard.
- Lake ice
- Remote sensing
- Water temperature
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)