Here we demonstrate the applicability of using altimetry data and Landsat imagery to provide the most accurate digital elevation model (DEM) of Australia's largest playa lake — Lake Eyre. We demonstrate through the use of geospatial techniques a robust assessment of lake area and volume of recent lake-filling episodes whilst also providing the most accurate estimates of area and volume for larger lake filling episodes that occurred throughout the last glacial cycle. We highlight that at a depth of 25 m Lake Mega-Eyre would merge with the adjacent Lake Mega-Frome to form an immense waterbody with a combined area of almost 35,000 km2 and a combined volume of ~520 km3. This would represent a vast water body in what is now the arid interior of the Australian continent. The improved DEM is more reliable from a geomorphological and hydrological perspective and allows a more accurate assessment of water balance under the modern hydrological regime. The results presented using GLAS/ICESat data suggest that earlier historical soundings were correct and the actual lowest topographic point in Australia is−15.6m below sea level. The results also contrast nicely the different basin characteristics of two adjacent lake systems: Lake Eyre and Lake Frome.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tcohen/12/