An improved bathymetric model for the modern and palaeo Lake Eyre
Here we demonstrate the applicability of using altimetry data and Landsat imagery to provide the most accurate digital elevation model (DEM) of Australia's largest playa lake — Lake Eyre. We demonstrate through the use of geospatial techniques a robust assessment of lake area and volume of recent lake-filling episodes whilst also providing the most accurate estimates of area and volume for larger lake filling episodes that occurred throughout the last glacial cycle. We highlight that at a depth of 25 m Lake Mega-Eyre would merge with the adjacent Lake Mega-Frome to form an immense waterbody with a combined area of almost 35,000 km2 and a combined volume of ~520 km3. This would represent a vast water body in what is now the arid interior of the Australian continent. The improved DEM is more reliable from a geomorphological and hydrological perspective and allows a more accurate assessment of water balance under the modern hydrological regime. The results presented using GLAS/ICESat data suggest that earlier historical soundings were correct and the actual lowest topographic point in Australia is−15.6m below sea level. The results also contrast nicely the different basin characteristics of two adjacent lake systems: Lake Eyre and Lake Frome.