DOI: 10.3390/rs16010128 ISSN: 2072-4292

Characterizing the Water Storage Variation of Kusai Lake by Constructing Time Series from Multisource Remote Sensing Data

Zhengkai Huang, Xin Wu, Haihong Wang, Zehui Zhao, Liting Du, Xiaoxing He, Hangyu Zhou
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

In September 2011, Zhuonai Lake (ZL) in the northeast of Hoh Xil (HX) on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP) broke out. The outburst event seriously changed the environmental hydraulics in this region. Due to the insufficient temporal resolution of observations, it is challenging to assess the impact of this event on short-period variations of water volumes in three lakes downstream of ZL. Combining multisource remote sensing data, we constructed long and high-temporal-resolution time series for the lake level, area, and lake water storage (LWS) of Kusai Lake (KL) to characterize the variabilities before and after the outburst. The water level, area, and LWS time series contain 1051 samples from 1990 to 2022, with uncertainties of 0.16 m, 2.5 km2, and 0.016 km3, respectively. The accuracies verified using the Database for Hydrological Time Series of Inland Waters (DAHITI) are 0.26 m, 2.64 km2, and 0.08 km3 for water level, area, and LWS, respectively. We characterized the LWS variations during the past 30 years based on the high temporal resolution LWS time series. Before the outburst, the 1-year and 3.5-year variations dominated the LWS time series, and there was no obvious semi-annual signal. After the outburst, the 3.5-year variation disappeared, and a strong semi-annual oscillation was observed. From 2012 to 2015, the periodic LWS variations in KL were disturbed by the ZL outburst and the subsequent outflow of KL led by the outburst. Regular cyclic signals have been restored since 2016, with an amplified annual fluctuation. By analysis, precipitation, evaporation, and glacier area change are excluded as driving factors of the pattern change in LWS variations of KL. It can be concluded that the altered recharge pattern of KL triggered by the outburst directly resulted in the observed changes in TWS behavior. For the first time, we identified the periodic patterns of LWS variations of KL during the past 30 years and revealed that the ZL outburst event significantly influenced these patterns. This finding contributes to the comprehensive understanding of the effects of the ZL outburst on downstream lake dynamics. Furthermore, the presented procedure for constructing long and high-resolution time series of LWS allows for monitoring and characterizing the short-period variabilities of Tibetan lakes that lack hydrological data.

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