Lakes in arid regions play an important role in regional water cycles and are a vital economic resource, but can fluctuate widely in area and volume. This study demonstrates the use of a multisensor satellite remote sensing method for the comprehensive monitoring of lake surface areas, water levels, and volume for the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt, from lake formation in 1998 to mid-2017. Two spectral water indices were used to construct a daily time-series of surface area from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), validated by higher-resolution Landsat images. Water levels were obtained from analysis of digital elevation models from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), validated with ICESat Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) laser altimetry. Total lake volume peaked at 26.54 × 109
in December 2001, and declined to 0.76 × 109
by August 2017. Evaporation accounted for approximately 86% of the loss, and groundwater recharge accounted for 14%. Without additional inflows, the last remaining lake will likely disappear between 2020 and 2022. The Enhanced Lake Index, a water index equivalent to the Enhanced Vegetation Index, was found to have lower noise levels than the Normalized Difference Lake Index. The results show that multi-platform satellite remote sensing provides an efficient method for monitoring the hydrology of lakes.
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