GLAM Bio-Lith RT: A Tool for Remote Sensing Reflectance Simulation and Water Components Concentration Retrieval in Glacial Lakes

Enrico Schiassi, Roberto Furfaro, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Cameron Scott Watson, Dan H. Shugar, Umesh K. Haritashya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A new open–source software tool, called GLAM BioLith–RT (Glacier Lakes Assisted Melting Biological Lithological Radiative Transfer), has been developed for modeling of Radiative Transfer (RT) in water bodies containing suspended lithic particles, phytoplankton, dissolved salts, and colored dissolved organic matter. Although our objective is an application to glacial lakes of High Mountain Asia, the model has potential application for the study of seawater, organic-rich lakes, rivers, etc. The tool is built on a solid foundation of an existing published open-source code called WASI, which has been reviewed and augmented with new capabilities, notably the addition of a suspended lithic particle grain size parameterization. GLAM BioLith-RT operates in both a forward modeling and inverse modeling mode. The forward mode is specifically designed to compute the reflectance spectra of glacier lakes from inherent optical water properties. Conversely, in the inverse mode, measured spectral reflectance is employed with other inputs to derive best fitting water component properties (e.g., suspended particles concentration). The inverse modeling includes Bayesian inversion of the output which is a significant advance over the existing software. We have tested the code for sensitivity to noise, and uncertainties in input parameters. The model succeeds in nearly reproducing the hyperspectral reflectance of some glacial lakes in Nepal as observed by the EO-1 Hyperion hyperspectral imager. The inverse modeling approach, when supported up by validated forward modeling, offers a means for remote sensing characterization of suspended sediment load in glacial lakes and rivers and hence, use of suspended sediment as a proxy for glacial activity; and many other potential applications in other thematic areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number267
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - Oct 15 2019


  • Bayesian inversion
  • Inverse mode problem
  • forward mode
  • glacial lakes
  • hyperspectral/multispectral reflectance
  • radiative transfer
  • remote sensing
  • suspended sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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