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Climate Change and Lake Poopó Water Levels, Bolivia

18.7S 67W

March 21st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes, Rivers

Bolivia – March 20th, 2013

Lake Poopó is a large saline lake located in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains in Bolivia at an altitude of approximately 3,700 metres. The lake receives most of its water from the Desaguadero River which flows from Lake Titicaca at the north end of the Altiplano. Here, the water flowing in from the river appears darker than the bright green waters of the rest of the lake.

Since the Lake Poopó lacks any major outlet and has a mean depth of no more than 3 m, its surface area varies greatly. Scientists have recently done studies to determine whether the variability in water level is strongly connected to the influx of water from Lake Titicaca (visible in the full image). By analyzing satellite data and climate fields over a ten year period, it was discovered that over the time span of 2000-2009 a great part of the variability of the Poopó system originated from geographic sources other than Lake Titicaca.

Possible alternative causes include climate change inducing increased temperatures and greater evaporation rates along the Altiplano; increased glacier and snow melting over the Andes Cordillera; and a potential increased anthropogenic water use (such as irrigation, minery, etc.) throughout the path of the Desaguadero River (which connects lakes Titicaca and Poopó). This change in the hydrology of this region could lead to a collapse of water supplies and endanger the already fragile Poopó system as well as the regional socioeconomic system, which closely depends upon it (click here for more information).

Stunning White Salt Flats of the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia – March 20th, 2013

20.1S 67.5W

March 20th, 2013 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

Bolivia – March 20th, 2013

The bright white area in the lower part of this image is the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia. Salt pans occur in areas which would otherwise be lakes or ponds if the climate did not evaporate the water quicker than the rate of rainfall. The result if the liquid can’t drain is massive deposits of minerals.

The Uyuni salt flats stretch 6,500 miles, making them the biggest in the world. They are even larger than Lake Titicaca, the vast stretch of water shared by Bolivia and neighbouring Peru (visible in the upper part of the image). They are also so flat that NASA uses their surface to calibrate satellite orbits.

Changing Water Levels in Lake Poopó, Bolivia

18.7S 67W

February 13th, 2013 Category: Lakes

Bolivia – January 25th, 2013

Lake Poopó sits high in the Bolivian Andes, catching runoff from its larger neighbor to the north, Lake Titicaca. The runoff arrives by way of the Desaguadero River, visible as the muddy area at the north end of the lake.

Due to the very high elevation at which Lake Poopó is located (roughly 3,400 meters, or 11,000 feet above sea level), its very shallow depth (generally less than 3 meters, or 9 feet), and the dryness of the regional climate, small changes in precipitation in the surrounding basin have large impacts on the lake’s water levels and area. Changing water levels in Lake Poopó affect its idealness as a stop for migratory birds, including flamingoes.

New Borders Feature in Action – January 27th, 2013 – EOSnap Celebrates its 6000th Post!

22.5N 31.7E

January 27th, 2013 Category: Clouds, Image of the day, Lakes

Egypt and Sudan – January 26th, 2013

Bolivia and Peru – January 26th, 2013

Mozambique – January 26th, 2013

USA – January 26th, 2013

Egypt, without borders

EOSnap celebrates our 6000th post by focusing on the new “borders” feature of the Chelys Satellite Rapid Response System (SRRS). The feature allows users to download satellite images that show not only a true, traditional view of the terrain below, but also the borders of countries. The feature is particularly useful for seeing the outline of land despite cloudcover. It can also be used to show the location of lakes.

In the main image, the border between Egypt and Sudan is clearly visible as a horizontal line. The contours of Lake Nasser, which would otherwise be invisible except for its southern tip due to heavy cloud cover (see thumbnail image “Egypt, without borders” for a look at the original, borderless image), are easily distinguishable, highlighted in blue. The thumbnail image of Mozambique shows the country’s shoreline despite an area of convection, in this case a potential area of cyclone formation, looming over the coast. The thumbnail image of Bolivia and Peru focuses on Lake Titicaca, and clearly shows where the lake is divided between the two countries. The thumbnail image of southern USA, in addition to sediments from the Mississippi River, shows the border between Louisiana (right) and Texas (left), as well as the Toledo Bend Reservoir, despite the thick clouds covering the upper half of the image.

Fires in Bolivia and Paraguay

20.2S 61.4W

October 3rd, 2012 Category: Fires

Bolivia and Paraguay – October 1st, 2012

Plumes of smoke from fires in Bolivia and Paraguay blow mostly towards the south and southeast, although those at the upper right are carried northeastward by the wind. There is also a general, smoky haze over the right side of the image, while the left side, near the Andes Mountains, is clearer.

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