Great Bear Lake Water Resources

A Long-Term Remote Sensing Analysis to Evaluate Changes in Water Quality of Great Bear Lake

A Long-Term Remote Sensing Analysis to Evaluate Changes in Water Quality of Great Bear Lake

The Sahtu Dene people of Délįnę have a strong traditional tie to Great Bear Lake (GBL), which they refer to as “The Water Heart.” The indigenous community is concerned with how changes in the lake may affect their livelihoods and fisheries. Arctic lakes like the GBL, the largest lake in Canada, are sensitive to increasing global temperatures. However, assessing the changing climate’s impacts on large water bodies is challenging and requires long-term time series analyses across large datasets. The scarcity of continuous monitoring has constrained the spatiotemporal evaluation of the GBL’s responses to climate variability in past years. Previous research of GBL primarily consists of ice phenology and fisheries studies. To complement previous studies in the region and support environmental monitoring done by project partners in the Délįnę Renewable Resources Council, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the fall 2018 NASA DEVELOP Massachusetts team analyzed long-term remote sensing data to assess the water quality changes of GBL over the past 20 years. The data were acquired from Aqua and Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS), Suomi NPP Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), and the ARCLake Database to evaluate changes in lake surface water temperature (LSWT), Chlorophyll-a, and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM). We did not observe any significant trends. More work must be done to assess long term water quality trends in arctic lakes.


Project Video:
How the Water Heart Beats
Location
Massachusetts - Boston
Term
Fall 2018
Partner(s)
Délįnę Renewable Resources Council
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
NASA Earth Observations
Aqua, MODIS
Terra, MODIS
SeaWiFS
Suomi NPP, VIIRS
Team
Krishna Sharma (Project Co-Lead)
Juan Jaimes (Project Co-Lead)
Huan Mi
Mahrokh Moknatian
Advisor(s)
Dr. Cedric Fichot (Earth & Environment Department, Boston University)