Broadly, my research interests involve using remote sensing techniques to study cryospheric and hydrologic processes in the pan-Arctic region. I'm particularly interested in developing new methodology for studying Arctic hydrologic processes and understanding the how the Arctic hydrologic system is responding to climate change.
Surface hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet
I'm interested in the inland migration of surface melt, supraglacial lake processes, supraglacial stream networks and spatial and temporal variability in surface water on the Greenland Ice Sheet. My masters research at the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge examined supraglacial lake processes in West Greenland using MODIS imagery. In particular, I focused on a) patterns in lake morphology over the past 16 years and their relationship to surface melt intensity, b) the spatial distribution of lake patterns across differing hydrologic basins and c) the frequency of rapid lake drainage events and the impact of methodological bias on reported results.
Cooper, M.G., L.C. Smith, A.K. Rennermalm, C. Miege, L.H. Pitcher, J.C. Ryan, K. Yang and S.W. Cooley (2018), Near surface meltwater storage in low-density bare ice of the Greenland ice sheet ablation zone, The Cryosphere 12, 955 - 970. (pdf)
Cooley, S.W. and P. Christoffersen (2017), Observation bias correction reveals more rapidly draining lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface 122. (pdf)
Terrestrial Arctic hydrology
My research interests also include characterizing the impacts of climate change on the terrestrial Arctic hydrologic system. I am currently using Planet CubeSat imagery to map sub-seasonal patterns in surface water at high temporal and spatial scales in Northern Alaska and Canada. I am also involved in a large-scale field and remote sensing project involving investigating large scale surface water sensitivity to climate change in Northern Canada and Alaska through NASA's ABoVE program. My undergraduate research at UNC focused on developing an automated method that detects the timing of river ice breakup across the entire reaches of large Arctic rivers using MODIS imagery and then analyzing spatial and temporal patterns in river ice breakup across the Arctic region.
Cooley, S.W., L.C. Smith, L. Stepan and J. Mascaro (2017), Tracking dynamic northern surface water changes with high frequency Planet CubeSat imagery, Remote Sensing. (pdf)
Cooley, S.W. and T.M. Pavelsky (2016), Spatial and temporal patterns in Arctic river ice breakup observed through automated detection of river ice using MODIS imagery, Remote Sensing of Environment. (pdf)