Shrinking lakes of the Arctic: Spatial relationships and trajectory of change



[1] Over the past 3 decades the Arctic has seen substantial warming. Previous local to regional scale studies have shown a considerable reduction in the size of lakes in this region. The subsequent exposure of carbon- and methane-rich sediments and the direct changes in surface albedo feed back into the drivers of regional and global climate change. Understanding and quantifying changes in the Arctic is a critical component of climate modeling due to the cooling effect of the Arctic on the global climate. The current work utilizes global satellite data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) instrument to investigate changes in lakes across Canada between 2000 and 2009. The results show a net reduction of more than 6,700 km2 in the surface area of water in lakes across Canada. Modest gains in the southern regions are offset by larger losses in surface area farther north. Additionally, spatial analysis shows that the lakes showing change are clustered in groups. This suggests that local variability may play a role in the observed changes. Further work is needed to extend the analysis to the circumpolar Arctic.