Endorheic Lake Dynamics: Remote Sensing

Authored by: Yongwei Sheng

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Extensively distributed in arid and semiarid regions, endorheic lakes are sensitive and vulnerable to climate change and human activities. They are crucial water resources to humans and animals and carry important mineral resources. Their dynamics serve as a proxy indicator of climate change. There is a pressing need to assess endorheic lake dynamics under global warming and anthropogenic pressures. After decades of rapid development, remote sensing provides effective and efficient tools for lake dynamics monitoring at regional scales. This entry first introduces endorheic basins and endorheic lakes and their values to humans as well as their relationship to climate change, outlines the global distribution of major endorheic basins and lakes, and finally discusses remote sensing of lake area changes using optical sensors, lake level change monitoring using satellite radar and lidar altimetry, and paleolake change recovery using remote sensing and topographic data. The dramatically changing endorheic lakes in the Great Siling Co basin on the Tibetan Plateau are monitored using various remote sensing techniques as a case study.

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