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THE RESPONSE OF LAKE LEVELS AND AREAS TO CLIMATE-CHANGE

MASON, IM; GUZKOWSKA, MAJ; RAPLEY, CG; STREETPERROTT, FA; (1994) THE RESPONSE OF LAKE LEVELS AND AREAS TO CLIMATE-CHANGE. CLIMATIC CHANGE , 27 (2) 161 - 197.

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Abstract

The levels and areas of lakes, particularly closed lakes (those without outlet) are known to be sensitive indicators of changes in climate, and so in principle they can play a role in monitoring current and future climatic changes. In this paper we derive solutions to the water balance equation giving the response of the level and area of closed lakes to steps, spikes and sinusoidal variations in aridity, and show that such a lake acts approximately as a simple low pass filter having a characteristic equilibrium response time tau(e). We also review the similar response of open lakes to changes in runoff. It is shown how tau(e) depends on lake geomorphology and climate, and for a number of lakes we calculate tau(e) values, ranging from 1.5 to 350 yr for closed lakes, and from 2.9 days to 2 yr for open lakes. We propose methods involving Fourier analysis for inverting closed lake level or area records to obtain plots of a simple aridity index C. It is shown that for all almost-equal-to 200 of the world's large (greater-than-or-equal-to 100 km2) closed lakes, satellite remote sensing of lake levels and areas is currently sensitive enough to monitor variations in C (e.g. in average basin precipitation) of order 1% to 10% on the time-scale of years to decades.

Type:Article
Title:THE RESPONSE OF LAKE LEVELS AND AREAS TO CLIMATE-CHANGE
Keywords:AFRICA
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Earth Sciences
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Space and Climate Physics

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