Water Resources Management

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 291-311

First online:

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

  • Manuel E. MendozaAffiliated withInstituto de Geografía (UNAM-Morelia) Email author 
  • , G. BoccoAffiliated withCentro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas (UNAM-Morelia)Instituto Nacional de Ecología (SEMARNAT) Periférico 5000
  • , M. BravoAffiliated withCentro Nacional de Investigación Disciplinaria en Producción Sostenible (CENID-CENAPROS), Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP)
  • , Erna López GranadosAffiliated withCentro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas (UNAM-Morelia)
  • , W. R. OsterkampAffiliated withU. S. Geological Survey, WRD, Desert Laboratory

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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.

Key Words

lake management remote sensing geographical information systems Mexico