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Water 2015, 7(9), 4685-4700; doi:10.3390/w7094685

Combined ICESat and CryoSat-2 Altimetry for Accessing Water Level Dynamics of Tibetan Lakes over 2003–2014

1
Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 18 Shuangquing Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100085, China
2
Department of Geography, University of California Los Angeles, 1255 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3
Hydrological Bureau in the Tibet Autonomous Region, 78 Sela Road, Lhasa 850000, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 21 May 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 27 August 2015
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Abstract

Long-term observations of lake water level are essential to our understanding of the evolution of Tibetan lake system. CryoSat-2 radar altimetry data over the Tibetan Plateau (2010–2014, P2) is used to extend lake level measurements from ICESat laser altimetry (2003–2009, P1). This study evaluates the performance of CryoSat-2 data by comparing with gauge-based water levels that are calibrated by ICESat-observed water level time series, and quantifies the uncertainty of water-level change rate estimates from satellite altimetry measurements. We completely investigate the 131 lakes that were observed by both ICESat and CryoSat-2. The mean change rate of water level for all of examined lakes in P2 (0.19 ± 0.03 m·year–1) is slightly lower than that (0.21 ± 0.02 m·year–1) observed in P1. The extended lake level time series also indicates that, in the past few years, lakes in the Northern Changtang (especially in Hol Xil) showed accelerated growth; and that the extensive lake level rises north to the Gangdise Mountains, during 2003–2009, were found dampened during the CryoSat-2 observation period. The spatio-temporal heterogeneity of precipitation observed from weather stations can be used to partly explain the observed temporal pattern of lake level changes over different sub-zones of the plateau. View Full-Text
Keywords: lake; CryoSat-2; ICESat; water balance; Tibetan Plateau; climate change lake; CryoSat-2; ICESat; water balance; Tibetan Plateau; climate change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Song, C.; Ye, Q.; Sheng, Y.; Gong, T. Combined ICESat and CryoSat-2 Altimetry for Accessing Water Level Dynamics of Tibetan Lakes over 2003–2014. Water 2015, 7, 4685-4700.

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