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Posts tagged Bolivia

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).

 

Climate Change Affecting Lake Poopó’s Water Levels – May 7th, 2013

18.7S 67W

May 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Lakes, Wetlands

Bolivia – May 7th, 2013

Lake Poopó, the green lake in the upper half of this image, is located on the Andean altiplano, or highland plateau, in Bolivia, at approximately 3700 m above sea level. Its area has decreased by 50% – about 17,400 ha. – in the last 25 years, with serious consequences for the populations of resident and migratory waterbirds.

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.

Fires in Northern Bolivia Near Rogaguado Lake

13S 65.9W

April 21st, 2013 Category: Fires, Lakes

Bolivia – April 21st, 2013

Colored square markers, best observed in the full image, indicate the presence of fires in Bolivia, near a series of lakes (the largest of which is Rogaguado Lake) and lagoons in the northern part of the country. Plumes of smoke can be seen billowing forth, in a generally northwestward direction, from some of the larger fires.

Diverse Vegetation of Bolivia

17.3S 66.1W

April 17th, 2013 Category: Salt Flats

Bolivia – April 16th, 2013

Bolivia has a huge degree of biodiversity, considered one of the greatest in the world; as well as several ecoregions with such ecological subunits as the Altiplano, tropical rainforests (including Amazon rainforest), dry valleys, and the Chiquitania, which is a tropical savanna. All of these feature enormous variations in altitude, from an elevation of 6,542 meters above sea level in Nevado Sajama, to nearly 70 meters along the Paraguay River.

Here, green vegetation can be seen northeast of the Andes Mountains, in Bolivia, in the tropical, forested portion of the country. Across the mountains, however, lies the arid, sparsely vegetated altiplano portion of the nation, which includes the bright white salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.

Comparative Vegetation Index East and West of the Andes

26.6S 68.9W

March 21st, 2013 Category: Vegetation Index

Argentina – March 21st, 2013

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is a simple graphical indicator that can be used to analyze satellite data, and assess whether the target being observed contains live green vegetation or not.

Live green plants absorb solar radiation in the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) spectral region, which they use as a source of energy in the process of photosynthesis. Leaf cells have also evolved to scatter (i.e., reflect and transmit) solar radiation in the near-infrared spectral region. Hence, live green plants appear relatively dark in the PAR and relatively bright in the near-infrared.

The pigment in plant leaves, chlorophyll, strongly absorbs visible light (from 0.4 to 0.7 µm) for use in photosynthesis. The cell structure of the leaves, on the other hand, strongly reflects near-infrared light (from 0.7 to 1.1 µm). The more leaves a plant has, the more these wavelengths of light are affected, respectively.

Since early instruments of Earth Observation acquired data in visible and near-infrared, it was natural to exploit the strong differences in plant reflectance to determine their spatial distribution in these satellite images. Here, the color contrast shows a stark difference in the vegetation index between arid Chile and western Bolivia, which appear brown to yellow (low vegetation index), and more fertile Argentina, which appears green (high vegetation index).

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