Analysis of lake ice dynamics and morphology on Lake El'gygytgyn, NE Siberia, using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Landsat



[1] A time series of more than 450 combined ERS-2, Radarsat-1, and Landsat-7 scenes acquired between 1998 and 2001 was analyzed to develop a fairly complete picture of lake ice dynamics on Lake El'gygytgyn, NE Siberia (67.5°N, 172°E). This 14-km3 lake partially fills a meteorite impact crater formed 3.6 million years ago and is home to a paleoenvironmental coring project. The duration of lake ice cover and the onset of lake ice breakup are important both to interpretations of the archived sediment core record and to future drilling projects that will use the ice as a stable platform. Ice formation, snowmelt, and ice breakup likely occur in late October, mid-May, and early July, respectively. These data were used to validate a one-dimensional energy-balance lake ice model, which can now be used to hindcast paleoclimate based on core proxy information. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) backscatter from the lake ice also revealed unusual spatial variations in bubble content, which were found to indicate the level of biological productivity in the sediments directly beneath the ice, with the highest productivity located in the shallowest (0–10 m) as well as the deepest (170–175 m) regions of the lake. Seismic data indicates that the backscatter anomaly above the deepest water is collocated with the central peak of the impact crater, 500 m below the surface. Several hypotheses are presented to explain this anomaly. Regardless of cause, the fact that large spatial variations in biological productivity exist in the lake has important implications for selecting the locations of future sediment cores.