, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 291-311

Predicting Water-Surface Fluctuation of Continental Lakes: A RS and GIS Based Approach in Central Mexico

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Changes in the water-surface area occupied by the Cuitzeo Lake, Mexico, during the 1974–2001 period are analysed in this study. The research is based on remote sensing and geographic information techniques, as well as statistical analysis. High-resolution satellite image data were used to analyse the 1974–2000 period, and very low-resolution satellite image data were used for the 1997–2001 period. The long-term analysis (1974–2000) indicated that there were temporal changes in the surface area of the Cuitzeo Lake and that these changes were related to precipitation and temperatures that occurred in the previous year. Short-term monitoring (1997–2001) showed that the Cuitzeo Lake surface is lowering. Field observations demonstrated also that yearly desiccation is recurrent, particularly, in the western section of the lake. Results suggested that this behaviour was probably due to a drought period in the basin that began in the mid 1990s. Regression models constructed from long-term data showed that fluctuations of lake level can be estimated by monthly mean precipitation and temperatures of the previous year.