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Climate – Remote Sensing

A Greenland - Wide Inventory of Ice - Marginal Lakes

Research Area:

Ice-marginal lakes



Start, year:


End, year:



Remote Sensing, Asiaq

Ice marginal lakes form when meltwater is stored at the margins of glaciers and ice sheet outlets. These store large reservoirs of water that can burst and cause catastrophic flooding, known as jökulhlaups or Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). There are many known ice-marginal lakes around the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet and ice caps, however, a complete record of all Greenland ice-marginal lakes did not exist up until now. In this project we are constructing the first Greenland-wide inventory of ice marginal lakes using the year 2017 as a base.

For lake detection, we are using satellite data from Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and ArcticDEM, which then combines to one dataset.

In order to investigate the development of the lakes over the decades, a time series of selected lakes in Southwest Greenland is included. It includes historical aerial photos, Landsat, ERS and Sentinel datasets.

Ultimately, this ice-marginal lake inventory will facilitate ongoing efforts to monitor the evolution of lakes under a changing climate, and will support information to Greenland’s contribution on the global sea level rise. Finally, such an inventory will play a key role in future planning of infrastructure and resource management for policy makers and in the assessment of hazards related to the glacier lakes.

Link to project