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Posts tagged Lake Poopó

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.

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).

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.

Andes Mountains Separating Altiplano and Gran Chaco, Bolivia

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September 16th, 2012 Category: Fires, Lakes, Mountains, Salt Flats

Bolivia and Peru – August 31st, 2012

The ridges of the Andes Mountains mark the division between two starkly contrasting regions in Bolivia: the arid altiplanto (left) and the hot and semi-arid lowlands of the Gran Chaco (sometimes referred to as the Chaco Plain). Visible by the left edge are the bright white salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni and the greenish waters of Lake Poopó. Of note in the upper right corner is smoke from fires that have been affecting the country recently (click here for previous images).

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