PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (6): 823-832.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.06.009

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Water storage variation of the Qinghai Lake in recent decades based on satellite observation

Hongyuan ZHANG1,2(), Yanhong WU2,*(), Yanjun LIU1, Linan GUO2,3   

  1. 1. School of Environment and Planning, Liaocheng University, Liaocheng 252000, Shandong, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing & Digital Earth, CAS, Beijing 100094, China;
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-01-08 Revised:2018-04-11 Online:2018-06-28 Published:2018-06-28
  • Contact: Yanhong WU;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41671203, No. 41371218;National Key R&D Program of China, No. 2016YFA0600303;Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.Y4YR1300QM)


Changes in water storage of the lakes on the Tibetan Plateau are regarded as one of the most critical consequences of regional hydrological response to climate change. Different from the conventional hydrological approaches, in this study we investigated the storage change of the Qinghai Lake based on a conceptual lake storage model and the most recent (2001-2016) available satellite observation on lake area and water level. The water surface areas and water levels were derived from MODIS and LEGOS altimetry data respectively. The results show that, in the past decades, the area of the Qinghai Lake expanded at a rate of 11.6 km2/a and the water level rose at the speed of 0.10 m/a. Based on the regression function between water level and lake area (R2=0.83), the net water budgets of the Qinghai Lake were estimated for the study period, and the result shows that water storage of the lake increased at the rate of about 4.5 billion m3/a. The increase of water storage could be attributed to the increase of precipitation and decrease of evaporation in the region.

Key words: remote sensing, water level and water surface area relation, water volume changes, Qinghai Lake