EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mapping Drained Lake Basins on a circumpolar scale

Helena Bergstedt1, Benjamin Jones2, Annett Bartsch1, Louise Farquharson3, Juliane Wolter4,5, Amy Breen, Mikhail Kanevsiy2, Guido Grosse5, Pascale Roy-Léveillée6, and Clemens von Baeckmann1
Helena Bergstedt et al.
  • 1bgeos, None, Vienna, Austria (
  • 2Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 3Geophysical Institute Permafrost Laboratory University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 4Permafrost Research Section, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research Potsdam
  • 5Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam
  • 6Department of Geography, Université Laval

Lakes and drained lake basins (DLB) are ubiquitous landforms in permafrost lowland regions, covering 50% to 75% of permafrost lowlands in parts of Alaska, Siberia, and Canada. Depending on the time passed since the drainage event, surface characteristics within the DLB such as surface roughness, vegetation, moisture and abundance of ponds may vary. The mosaic of vegetative and geomorphic succession within DLBs and the distinct differences between DLBs and surrounding areas can be discriminated with remote sensing and used to derive a landscape-scale classification. Previously published local and regional studies have demonstrated the importance of DLBs regarding carbon storage, greenhouse gas and nutrient fluxes, hydrology, geomorphology, and habitat availability. To help quantify these processes on a circumpolar scale and improve the representation of Arctic landscapes in large scale models, a circumpolar data set of DLBs distribution and DLB properties is needed.  Due to the inherent temporal characteristics of DLBs, such a data set also has the potential for space-for-time applications regarding landscape models. A pan-Arctic scale effort to map and further the understanding of DLBs in permafrost-regions is the outcome of work conducted within the International Permafrost Association (IPA) Action Group on DLBs, a bottom-up effort led by the scientific community that includes developing a first pan-Arctic drained lake basin data product based on multispectral remote sensing data (Landsat-8). Comprehensive mapping of DLBs areas across the circumpolar permafrost landscape and including field data into this approach will allow for future utilization of these data in pan-Arctic models, aid upscaling efforts and greatly enhance our understanding of DLBs in the context of permafrost landscapes. This will improve quantitative studies on landscape diversity, wildlife habitat, permafrost, hydrology, geotechnical conditions, high-latitude carbon cycling, and landscape vulnerability to climate change.

How to cite: Bergstedt, H., Jones, B., Bartsch, A., Farquharson, L., Wolter, J., Breen, A., Kanevsiy, M., Grosse, G., Roy-Léveillée, P., and von Baeckmann, C.: Mapping Drained Lake Basins on a circumpolar scale, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11626,, 2023.