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Climate Change’s Impacts on Lake Poopó, Bolivia: Reduced Area and Biodiversity – July 1st, 2013

18.7S 67W

July 1st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Lakes, Salt Flats VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Bolivia – June 28th, 2013

Visible high on the Bolivian altiplano are the green waters of Lake Poopó and the bright white surface of the Salar de Uyuni. Lake Poopó’s area has decreased by 50% in the last 25 years, with serious consequences for the populations of resident and migratory waterbirds.

The lake is located at approximately 3700 m above sea level, covering an approximate area of 967,000 ha, making it the second biggest lake in Bolivia, after Lake Titicaca (visible in the upper part of the full image), which is shared with Peru. However, in only 25 years its area has decreased by about 17,400 ha, representing almost 50% of its total area.

The decrease in the wetland’s area of open water has been attributed principally to climate change, which, in conjunction with current hydrological conditions (high rates of evaporation, low rainfall, and low flow rates of the rivers flowing into the lake), mean that water levels in the lake are not rising. This has had serious impacts on the biodiversity which depends on the wetland, given that the salinity has increased, thus decreasing survival rates of some species, with subsequent consequences in the local economy.

The change in size of the wetland has represented a considerable loss of available habitat for migratory bird species, for which the lake represents an important habitat, especially during the dry season (May to September), coinciding with the southern winter. However, drastic decreases in the populations of these species have been detected since 2007. Preliminary results suggest that the reason for this decline is the loss of available habitat as a result of the reduced area of Lake Poopó, and the accumulation of solid waste around the shores of the lake (click here for more information).

 

Sunglint on Lakes and Fire in Southern USA

32.7N 96.8W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 26th, 2013

Many lakes and reservoirs, highlighted by sunglint and thus appearing silvery green in color, dot the left half of this image of Texas and Lousiana, in southern USA. In the lower right quadrant, a fire can be seen releasing a plume of smoke that blows towards the northeast.

Correlation Between Climate Change and Tectonic Activity by Lake Rukwa, Tanzania

8S 32.4E

June 26th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISAqua

Tanzania – June 26th, 2013

Scientists have found a correlation between climatically induced lake level change in Lake Rukwa, seismo-tectonic activation of the regional fault network (underneath Lake Rukwa and the Kanda fault between Lakes Rukwa and Tanganyika) and the timing of the recent strong volcanic eruptions in the Rungwe Volcanic Province.

This relation is explained taking into account that Lake Rukwa is very sensitive to climate change as it occupies a flat depression and its overflow outlet is 180 m above its present-day level. Its lake level rises rapidly when the climate becomes more humid. Increases in lake level mean an increase in the load in the basin and perturbation of the ambient tectonic stresses (click here for more information).

Sediments in Southern Part of Great Slave Lake’s Main Basin, Canada

62.6N 110.5W

June 25th, 2013 Category: Lakes, Sediments MODISTerra

Canada – June 24th, 2013

The Great Slave Lake is an enormous, complex body of water. It is the fourth largest lake in Canada and was formed as a result of glacial scouring. The lake has a large, open western basin and a narrow eastern arm with many islands.

Great Slave Lake is drained by the MacKenzie River and has many inflows, of which the Slave River from Lake Athabasca is the largest. Each day in the summer, the Slave River dumps 54,000 metric tons of dissolved minerals and 36,000 metric tons of silt into the southern part of the main lake basin, as can be seen here, which has a mineral content of 160 ppm.

The eastern arm and northern shore of the main basin have a lower dissolved mineral content (22-82 ppm) as a result of dilution by stream inflow off the Pre-Cambrian Shield. The large bays of the eastern arm are extremely deep (e.g. Christie Bay 614 m) and permafrost covers most of the north shore.

This extremely oligotrophic lake has low standing planktonic crops, a limited benthic invertebrate community (six species), and sparse populations of fish. The short summer in this subarctic climate is reflected by the condensed two-week period of yearly growth in whitefish during August (click here for more information).

Climate Change and Water Levels in Great Slave Lake, Canada

62.6N 110.5W

June 23rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISTerra

Canada – June 22nd, 2013

A wide array of climate change scenarios arise from global climate models, with a clear warming trend common to most of them. All lakes and reservoirs in Canada will be affected by climate change.

Models have shown that Canada’s large lakes, such as the Great Slave Lake, visible here, indicate that the over-lake meteorological conditions are conducive to increased annual lake evaporation. Under sunny conditions, the Great Slave Lake can increase its seasonal evaporation by 28% (click here for more information).

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