Study on Lakes
The total lake area in China has increased by 9 percent over the past five decades, according to a recent study.
Researchers from the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used historical maps and Landsat satellite images to produce a comprehensive China lake dataset from the 1960s to 2015.
Results showed that the number of lakes (those above 1 square km) in China increased from 2,127 to 2,554, with the area expanded from 68,537 square km to 74,395 square km during the same period.
Lakes are sensitive to climate change and human activities, and are good indicators of environmental change. China has abundant lake resources but uneven distribution. Understanding long-term evolution, regional differences and lakes’ driving factors is of great significance to water resource management and sustainable development in China.
The study also quantitatively analyzed these factors from the perspectives of climate change and human activities.
Climate factors have played a dominant role in lake changes across China, while human activities have also had an impact. Most of the 333 lakes that disappeared were in the eastern area of the country, where there is significant human activity.