Ocean Colour Remote Sensing in the Laptev Sea

  • Birgit HeimEmail author
  • Bennet Juhls
  • Ekaterina Abramova
  • Astrid Bracher
  • Roland Doerffer
  • Rafael Gonçalves-Araujo
  • Sebastian Hellman
  • Alexandra Kraberg
  • Feodor Martynov
  • Paul Overduin


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.


Ocean colour Laptev Sea Lena Delta Lena River Arctic coastal waters cDOM Chl-a MERIS MODIS 



This work is supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG 4575), the Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIM, and the Helmholtz Impulse Fond (HGF Young Investigators Group Phytooptics). RG is funded by a Ph.D. fellowship from CAPES–Brazil in collaboration with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and a visiting fellowship from the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research (POLMAR–AWI). The Russian–German marine expeditions are supported and organized by AWI and GEOMAR (DE) and the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI, RU). The expeditions are an integral part of joint Russian–German projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. The ESA ENVISAT project (MERIS-ID 5504) provided MERIS data. BEAM-VISAT and SNAP are open-source software initiated by ESA and developed by Brockmann Consult (DE). The C2R processor was developed as a joint effort between the HZG Research Centre, Institute for Coastal Research and Brockmann Consult under ESA contract.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgit Heim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bennet Juhls
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ekaterina Abramova
    • 4
    • 5
  • Astrid Bracher
    • 1
  • Roland Doerffer
    • 6
  • Rafael Gonçalves-Araujo
    • 1
  • Sebastian Hellman
    • 1
  • Alexandra Kraberg
    • 1
  • Feodor Martynov
    • 5
  • Paul Overduin
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine ResearchPotsdam and BremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Space SciencesFreie Universitaet BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean ResearchKielGermany
  4. 4.Lena Tiksi ReserveTiksiRussia
  5. 5.Saint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  6. 6.Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht HZG, Institute for Coastal ResearchGeesthachtGermany

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