Chinese scientists estimate changes of lake water storage on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
BEIJING -- A research team led by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences has estimated the changes of lake water storage (LWS) volume on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The results of the research have been published in the journal Science Bulletin. According to the research, there are around 1,400 lakes larger than one square kilometer on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, most of which are located on the inner plateau, which is less affected by human activities. With climate warming and humidification, the lakes there have experienced dramatic expansion, which poses a flood risk to surrounding villages and roads. "So an effective and accurate estimation of LWS changes under climate change is urgently needed," said Jia Binghao, a researcher at IAP. Using Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data and high-resolution land surface model simulations, the researchers estimated the LWS for 18 lakes larger than 300 square kilometers on the inner Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from 2002 to 2018. "The estimated LWS agreed well with the multi-source satellite altimetry data. The LWS of the 18 lakes expanded rapidly, with a growth rate of 26.92 mm per year," Jia said. The researchers also projected future changes in LWS for an intermediate scenario based on machine learning. "The increasing rate of LWS by the mid-21st century for an intermediate scenario is predicted to decrease to 40 percent of that of recent decades," the researcher said. "The LWS estimations based on GRACE data and a land surface model can be used to identify regional changes in lakes for areas with limited available data, which is a helpful tool for monitoring lake water resource changes," he added.