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Open AccessArticle

Quantifying Freshwater Mass Balance in the Central Tibetan Plateau by Integrating Satellite Remote Sensing, Altimetry, and Gravimetry

Department of Civil Engineering, National Central University, 32001 Taoyuan, Taiwan
Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research, National Central University, 32001 Taoyuan, Taiwan
Institute of Hydrological and Oceanic Sciences, National Central University, 32001 Taoyuan, Taiwan
Division of Geodetic Science, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth’s Dynamics, Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 43077, China
Department of Geomatics, National Cheng-Kung University, 70101 Tainan, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Cheinway Hwang, Wenbin Shen, Stéphane Calmant, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(6), 441;
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 6 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 24 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Tibet and Siberia)
The Tibetan Plateau (TP) has been observed by satellite optical remote sensing, altimetry, and gravimetry for a variety of geophysical parameters, including water storage change. However, each of these sensors has its respective limitation in the parameters observed, accuracy and spatial-temporal resolution. Here, we utilized an integrated approach to combine remote sensing imagery, digital elevation model, and satellite radar and laser altimetry data, to quantify freshwater storage change in a twin lake system named Chibuzhang Co and Dorsoidong Co in the central TP, and compared that with independent observations including mass changes from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data. Our results show that this twin lake, located within the Tanggula glacier system, remained almost steady during 1973–2000. However, Dorsoidong Co has experienced a significant lake level rise since 2000, especially during 2000–2005, that resulted in the plausible connection between the two lakes. The contemporary increasing lake level signal at a rate of 0.89 ± 0.05 cm·yr−1, in a 2° by 2° grid equivalent water height since 2002, is higher than the GRACE observed trend at 0.41 ± 0.17 cm·yr−1 during the same time span. Finally, a down-turning trend or inter-annual variability shown in the GRACE signal is observed after 2012, while the lake level is still rising at a consistent rate. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tibetan Plateau; water mass balance; remote sensing Tibetan Plateau; water mass balance; remote sensing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tseng, K.-H.; Chang, C.-P.; Shum, C.K.; Kuo, C.-Y.; Liu, K.-T.; Shang, K.; Jia, Y.; Sun, J. Quantifying Freshwater Mass Balance in the Central Tibetan Plateau by Integrating Satellite Remote Sensing, Altimetry, and Gravimetry. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 441.

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