Publication Details

Armon, M., Dente, E., Shmilovitz, Y., Mushkin, A., Cohen, T., Morin, E. & Enzel, Y. (2020). Determining Bathymetry of Shallow and Ephemeral Desert Lakes Using Satellite Imagery and Altimetry. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (7),


©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Water volume estimates of shallow desert lakes are the basis for water balance calculations, important both for water resource management and paleohydrology/climatology. Water volumes are typically inferred from bathymetry mapping; however, being shallow, ephemeral, and remote, bathymetric surveys are scarce in such lakes. We propose a new, remote-sensing-based, method to derive the bathymetry of such lakes using the relation between water occurrence, during >30 year of optical satellite data, and accurate elevation measurements from the new Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2). We demonstrate our method at three locations where we map bathymetries with ~0.3 m error. This method complements other remotely sensed, bathymetry-mapping methods as it can be applied to: (a) complex lake systems with subbasins, (b) remote lakes with no in-situ records, and (c) flooded lakes. The proposed method can be easily implemented in other shallow lakes as it builds on publically accessible global data sets.



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