Study on Lakes

Beijing Review - - THIS WEEK SOCIETY -

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.

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