Characterization of surface water storage changes in Arctic lakes using simulated SWOT measurements

Hyongki Lee, Michael Durand, Hahn Chul Jung, Doug Alsdorf, C. K. Shum, Yongwei Sheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The planned Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission will measure freshwater storage changes in global lakes. Herein, the anticipated SWOT storage change accuracy is evaluated for the lakes in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, Northern Alaska and Western Siberia. Because of the significant lack of Arctic lake measurements, we simulated realistic daily to seasonal changes in water elevations in the study region using a combination of data from lake gauges, satellite radar altimeter, and satellite imagery. This 'truth' dataset is sampled with several candidate SWOT orbits and then corrupted with expected instrument errors to simulate SWOT observed storage changes. The number of revisits increases with increasing or decreasing latitude for a given repeat cycle (e.g. four to eight revisits for a 22-day cycle), allowing us to investigate storage change errors at monthly sampling. SWOT storage change accuracy is primarily controlled by lake size. Lakes larger than 1 km2 have relative errors generally less than 5% whereas one-hectare size lakes are about 20%. We concluded that the storage change accuracy is insensitive to the orbital inclination or repeat periods, but is sensitive to lake shapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3931-3953
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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