Figure 1

Pengfei Zhan

and 6 more

The inland lakes in the Tibetan Plateau (TP), with closed catchments and minimal human disturbance, are important indicators to climate change. However, examination of the spatiotemporal patterns of the Tibetan lake changes, especially for water level variation, was usually limited by inadequate measurement accessibility. This obstacle has been remedied by the developing satellite altimetry observations. The more recent studies revealed the growth tendency of lakes in the central TP had been decelerated or reversed during the period 2010-2016. It has not been systematically investigated whether the deceleration or hiatus would last in the following years thus far. This study aims to combine the traditional and recently-advanced altimetry observations to update our understanding of Tibetan lake changes in recent years. The results reveal that water level changes of the 22 examined lakes showed abrupt rises during the period 2016-2018, but the onsets and magnitudes of the rises varied among the lakes. During the study period, the water level of the nine lakes in the northern TP displayed a drastic rising trend with an average rate of 0.82 m/a. In the central TP, the lake level changes were generally divided into two categories. The water levels for the lakes in the western CTP rose rapidly, while in the eastern CTP, the lake water levels rose slowly with an average rising rate less than 0.40 m/a. The water levels for lakes in the northeastern TP and northwestern TP kept a stably rising tendency. According to the results of climate analysis, the spatial differences of the lake level rise rates were primarily caused by the spatial and temporal changes of precipitation over the TP, which may be related to the large-scale atmospheric circulation affected by the El Niño and La Niña events.