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Water 2017, 9(7), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070552

Linkage of Climatic Factors and Human Activities with Water Level Fluctuations in Qinghai Lake in the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau, China

1
College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Key Laboratory of State Forestry Administration on Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
3
Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower of Qinghai Province, Xining 810001, China
4
Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center, El Paso, TX 79927, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 24 July 2017
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Abstract

Changes in the water level of Qinghai Lake, the largest inland lake in China, directly affect the ecological security of Qinghai province and even the northwest of China. This study aimed to investigate the lake level and identify causes of changes in the lake level of Qinghai Lake. The results showed that the lake level was 3196.55 m in 1959 and gradually declined to 3192.86 m in 2004, with an average decreasing rate of 8.2 cm·year−1 over 45 years. However, the lake level increased continuously by 1.04 m from 2005 to 2010. During the period 1961–2010, the annual average temperature showed an increasing trend in the Qinghai Lake basin, at a rate of 0.32 °C/decade, and the annual precipitation showed obvious fluctuations with an average precipitation of 381.70 mm/year. Annual evaporation showed a decreasing trend (−30.80 mm/decade). The change in lake level was positively correlated to precipitation, surface runoff water and groundwater inflow into the lake and negatively correlated to evaporation from the lake surface. The total water consumption by human activities merely accounted for a very small part of precipitation, surface runoff inflow and groundwater inflow (1.97%) and of lake evaporation (1.87%) in Qinghai Lake basin. The annual water consumption of artificial afforestation and grass plantation accounting for 5.07% of total precipitation, surface runoff inflow and groundwater inflow and 5.43% of the lake evaporation. Therefore, the water level depended more on climatic factors than on anthropogenic factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: lake level; climatic factors; human activities; Qinghai Lake; Tibetan Plateau lake level; climatic factors; human activities; Qinghai Lake; Tibetan Plateau
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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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Chang, B.; He, K.-N.; Li, R.-J.; Sheng, Z.-P.; Wang, H. Linkage of Climatic Factors and Human Activities with Water Level Fluctuations in Qinghai Lake in the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau, China. Water 2017, 9, 552.

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