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China’s lakes at present: Number, area and spatial distribution

A Data Descriptor to this article was published on 21 June 2016


Based on 11004 satellite images from CBERS CCD and Landsat TM/ETM, changes in the spatial characteristics of all lakes in China were determined following pre-established interpretation rules. This dataset was supported by 6843 digital raster images (1:100000 and 1:50000), a countrywide digital vector dataset (1:250000), and historical literature. Comparative data were corrected for seasonal variations using precipitation data. There are presently 2693 natural lakes in China with an area greater than 1.0 km2, excluding reservoirs. These lakes are distributed in 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and have a total area of 81414.6 km2, accounting for ∼0.9% of China’s total land area. In the past 30 years, the number of newly formed and newly discovered lakes with an area greater than 1.0 km2 is 60 and 131, respectively. Conversely, 243 lakes have disappeared in this time period.

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Correspondence to RongHua Ma.

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Ma, R., Yang, G., Duan, H. et al. China’s lakes at present: Number, area and spatial distribution. Sci. China Earth Sci. 54, 283–289 (2011).

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  • China
  • lake number
  • lake area
  • spatial distribution