Ocean Colour Remote Sensing in the Laptev Sea


The Laptev and Eastern Siberian shelves are the world’s broadest shallow shelf systems. Large Siberian rivers and coastal erosion of up to meters per summer deliver large volumes of terrestrial matter into the Arctic shelf seas. In this chapter we investigate the applicability of Ocean Colour Remote Sensing during the ice-free summer season in the Siberian Laptev Sea region. We show that the early summer river peak discharge may be traced using remote sensing in years characterized by early sea-ice retreat. In the summer time after the peak discharge, the spreading of the main Lena River plume east and north-east of the Lena River Delta into the shelf system becomes hardly traceable using optical remote sensing methods. Measurements of suspended particulate matter (SPM) and coloured dissolved organic matter (cDOM) are of the same magnitude in the coastal waters of Buor Khaya Bay as in the Lena River. Match-up analyses of in situ chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) show that standard Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite-derived Chl-a is not a valid remote sensing product for the coastal waters and the inner shelf region of the Laptev Sea. All MERIS and MODIS-derived Chl-a products are overestimated by at least a factor of ten, probably due to absorption by the extraordinarily high amount of non-algal particles and cDOM in these coastal and inner-shelf waters. Instead, Ocean Colour remote sensing provides information on wide-spread resuspension over shallows and lateral advection visible in satellite-derived turbidity. Satellite Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data clearly show hydrodynamics and delineate the outflow of the Lena River for hundreds of kilometres out into the shelf seas.
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