Major lakes in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau see significant water increase


Aerial photo taken on July 28, 2020 shows the scenery of Qinghai Lake in northwest China's Qinghai Province. (Xinhua/Wu Gang)

BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Researchers have discovered that the total water volume of ten major lakes across the endorheic region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau increased by 58.5 cubic kilometers between 1979 and 2016.

Rainfall, glaciers and snow meltwater, lake surface evaporation, and soil freezing-thawing are the major contributors to the water increase, according to a recent research article published in the journal Science Bulletin.

The endorheic area of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau contains more than 60 percent of the total water storage of lakes in the region. The complex topographic conditions and the interactions among the cryosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere in the high altitude area limit understanding of most lake basins of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The researchers selected ten large lakes with an area of more than 500 square kilometers and quantitatively evaluated the variation of lake water storage and its driving factors in the endorheic region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which provides important scientific support for analyzing the hydrological process of the lake basin and the role of the cryosphere in lake expansion.

The researchers came from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California.