Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chinese Version)


Tibetan Plateau; Asian Water Tower; lake variations; physical and chemical index of lake water; plankton; The Westerlies; Indian monsoon

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The Tibetan Plateau lakes, with more than 50% area of the total lakes in China, are an important part of the Asia Water Tower. From 1970s to 2018, the number and area of lakes increased obviously, but the changing rate was not uniform. Before 1990, the negative balance of lake water storage was caused by low temperature inhibition of melting water. From 1990 to 2000, lake water storage increased associated with increased melting water due to the rising of temperature. After 2000, precipitation was the main factor leading to the increase of lake water storage, but the continuous temperature rising during 2005 and 2013 strengthened evaporation and weakened the increasing rate of lake water storage. Nevertheless, in the central and western Tibetan Plateau, the increase of lake water storage during 2000 and 2013 was mainly contributed by glacier melt water. From 1970s to 2013, the spatial characteristics of the lake water storage changes on the Tibetan Plateau were consistent with that of precipitation in the westerly and Indian monsoon regions. The increase of air temperature and long-wave radiation make the lake water temperature increase obviously, and promote the transmission efficiency of food chain. With the lake water storage increase, the lake water salinity generally decreases, which conduce the increase of lake biological diversity and make the lake ecosystem structure relatively complex. In the next 20 years, the lake water storage in the inland closed lakes of the Tibetan Plateau will continue to increase while the increasing rate will decrease. For the "Asian Water Tower", the lake study on the Tibetan Plateau should focus on macroscale water storage and water balance, the main physical and chemical properties of lake water and ecosystem parameters, as well as the water cycle process of lake changes in large-scale climate change.

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Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences


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