PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (10): 1241-1249.

• Climate Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Lake ice change at the Nam Co Lake on the Tibetan Plateau during 2000-2013 and influencing factors

GOU Peng1, 2, YE Qinghua1, *, WEI Qiufang3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, Beijing 100085, China;
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Published:2015-10-29

Abstract: Lake ice is a sensitive proxy to climate variability as has been shown through observations and modeling. In this study, we used in-situ and satellite data to analyze lake ice change at the Nam Co Lake in Tibet in 2000-2013. The results from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) data showed that lake ice phenology changed significantly at the Nam Co Lake in the studied time period. The postponing freeze onset (FO) and advancing water clear of ice (WCI) dates were both obvious, resulting in the dramatic reduction of ice existence period (IEP) (2.8 days/year). Melt duration (MD), which stands for lake ice melting speed, was the most sensitive indicator of Nam Co Lake ice durations and MD was shortened by 3.1 days/year through the study period. Lake ice change at the Nam Co Lake was affected by regional climate variations, including air temperature and wind speed changes. In this study, daily air temperature from two automatic weather stations on the lakeshore showed highly consistent trend with lake ice phenology—both freeze onset (FO) and melt onset (MO) synchronized with air temperature variation. High wind speed in winter accelerates freezing. Lake ice tensile force rather than wind force can force the ice into pieces during the formation period. Lake ice phenology acts as a sensitive proxy of regional climate and can serve as an indicator of regional climate change. Further study on lake ice in the Tibetan Plateau is significant because of its sensitive response to climate change.

Key words: lake ice, remote sensing, reflectivity threshold, brightness temperature, Tibetan Plateau