High-temporal-resolution water level and storage change data sets for lakes on the Tibetan Plateau during 2000-2017 using multiple altimetric missions and Landsat-derived lake shoreline positions

Xingdong Li, DI Long, Qi Huang, Pengfei Han, Fanyu Zhao, Yoshihide Wada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP), known as Asia's water tower, is quite sensitive to climate change, which is reflected by changes in hydrologic state variables such as lake water storage. Given the extremely limited ground observations on the TP due to the harsh environment and complex terrain, we exploited multiple altimetric missions and Landsat satellite data to create high-temporal-resolution lake water level and storage change time series at weekly to monthly timescales for 52 large lakes (50 lakes larger than 150 km2 and 2 lakes larger than 100 km2) on the TP during 2000-2017. The data sets are available online at https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.898411 (Li et al., 2019). With Landsat archives and altimetry data, we developed water levels from lake shoreline positions (i.e., Landsat-derived water levels) that cover the study period and serve as an ideal reference for merging multisource lake water levels with systematic biases being removed. To validate the Landsat-derived water levels, field experiments were carried out in two typical lakes, and theoretical uncertainty analysis was performed based on high-resolution optical images (0.8 m) as well. The RMSE of the Landsat-derived water levels is 0.11m compared with the in situ measurements, consistent with the magnitude from theoretical analysis (0.1-0.2 m). The accuracy of the Landsat-derived water levels that can be derived in relatively small lakes is comparable with most altimetry data. The resulting merged Landsat-derived and altimetric lake water levels can provide accurate information on multiyear and short-term monitoring of lake water levels and storage changes on the TP, and critical information on lake overflow flood monitoring and prediction as the expansion of some TP lakes becomes a serious threat to surrounding residents and infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1603-1627
Number of pages25
JournalEarth System Science Data
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 28 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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