Climate effects on an inland alpine lake in Xinjiang, China over the past 40 years

Abstract

Inland lakes are important water resources in arid and semiarid regions. Understanding climate effects on these lakes is critical to accurately evaluate the dynamic changes of water resources. This study focused on the changes in Sayram Lake of Xinjiang, China, and addressed the effects of climate fluctuations on the inland lake based on long-term sequenced remote sensing images and meteorological data from the past 40 years. A geographic information system (GIS) method was used to obtain the hypsometry of the basin area of Sayram Lake, and estimation methods for evaporation from rising temperature and water levels from increasing precipitation were proposed. Results showed that: (1) Areal values of Sayram Lake have increased over the past 40 years. (2) Both temperature and precipitation have increased with average increases of more than 1.8°C and 82 mm, respectively. Variation of the water levels in the lake was consistent with local climate changes, and the areal values show linear relationships with local temperature and precipitation data. (3) According to the hypsometry data of the basin area, the estimated lake water levels increased by 2.8 m, and the water volume increased by 12.9×108 m3 over the past 40 years. The increasing area of Sayram Lake correlated with local and regional climatic changes because it is hardly affected by human activities.

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Correspondence to WeiMing Cheng.

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Chai, H., Cheng, W., Zhou, C. et al. Climate effects on an inland alpine lake in Xinjiang, China over the past 40 years. J. Arid Land 5, 188–198 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-013-0156-0

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Keywords

  • Sayram Lake
  • climate change
  • water body extraction
  • areal variation
  • inland alpine lake