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Tingyue LIU, Jingjing DAI, Yuanyi ZHAO, Shufang TIAN, Zhen NIE, Chuanyong YE. Using remote sensing technology to monitor salt lake changes caused by climate change and melting glaciers: insights from Zabuye Salt Lake in Xizang[J]. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 2023, 41(4): 1258-1276

Using remote sensing technology to monitor salt lake changes caused by climate change and melting glaciers: insights from Zabuye Salt Lake in Xizang

Tingyue LIU1, Jingjing DAI2, Yuanyi ZHAO2, Shufang TIAN1, Zhen NIE2, Chuanyong YE2
1 School of Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China;
2 Institute of Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100037, China
Zabuye Salt Lake (ZSL) in Xizang is the only saline lake in the world with natural crystalline lithium carbonate. As it is an important lithium production base in China, any changes of this lake are concerning. Global climate change (CC) has affected the hydrological conditions of glaciers, lakes, and ecosystems in the Tibetan Plateau (TP). With the aim of monitoring dynamic hydrological changes in ZSL and Lunggar Glaciers (LG) to identify factors governing lake changes, and to estimate the potential damage to grasslands and salt pans, Landsat remote sensing (RS) and meteorological data were used to do a series of experiments and analysis. Firstly, according to the spectral characteristics (SC), salt lake, glaciers, grasslands, and salt pans around the salt lake were extracted by band calculation (BC). Secondly, basin and water areas of the expanded lake were estimated using a shuttle radar topography mission (SRTM) digital elevation model (DEM). Thirdly, comprehensive analyses of lake and glacier area changes, and regional meteorological factors (annual average temperature, annual precipitation, and evaporation) were performed, and the results show that ZSL expanded at a rate of 5.28 km2/a, it is likely to continue expanding. Expansion was closely related to the large-scale melting of a glacier caused by rising temperatures. Continued lake expansion (LE) will exert different effects on surrounding grasslands and salt pans, 7.84 km2 of grassland and 2.7 km2 of salt pan will be submerged with every meter of water increase in the lake. Similar prediction methods was used to monitor other lakes on the TP. Mami Co, Selin Co, and Chaerhan salt lakes all expanded at different rates, and may potentially cause different levels of potential harm to surrounding grasslands and roads. Our study contributes to salt lake research and demonstrates the superiority of RS technology for monitoring saline lakes.
Key words:    Tibetan Plateau|Zabuye Salt Lake|climate change|remote sensing|lake expansion   
Received: 2022-04-30   Revised:
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