For 19 years, Joe Szilagyi, research hydrologist with Conservation and Survey Division at the School of Natural Resources, has concentrated on evapotranspiration estimation techniques that require only minimal and widely available atmospheric or remote sending data.
Those techniques were utilized in a new study on the expansion of lakes in the Tibetan Plateau by lead author Ning Ma, of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Szilagyi and four others in the June issue of the Journal of Hydrology and on the website glacierhub.org.
“This particular version of the ET estimation methods I work on developing and improving has been in existence for around 30 years and requires no wind data, which is very attractive in data scarce regions, such as the Tibetan Plateau,” Szilagyi said.
This ET method, complementary relationship of evaporation, can be used over large areas, such as large river basins, states and continents, Szilagyi said, and it was used in the study that examined the Nam Co Lake in the northern section of the vast, mountainous plateau in southwestern China. The lake is the second largest one on the plateau that is home to more than a thousand, but it’s one with a closed basin, meaning any water loss that occurs only occurs though evaporation.
“Evaporation variability of Nam Co Lake in the Tibetan Plateau and its role in recent rapid lake expansion” notes that this lake, like many others on the plateau, has been expanding since the 1990s. The researchers wanted to know why.
“The study suggests that the ability to more accurately model the rates of evaporation without wind speed data is key to counterbalancing the lack of meteorological observations in this area,” Christina Langone wrote for Glacier Hub. “Further, the need to examine the lake over decades can best be addressed by models, granted the lack of data from the weather stations in the region. Accurate models may be able to help those in the region better understand lake expansion.”
That means Szilagyi’s research and evapotranspiration techniques could be utilized for years to come.
Read the Journal article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169416301354
Read the Glacier Hub article here: http://glacierhub.org/2016/05/04/slower-evaporation-rate-spurs-tibetan-lake-growth/
-- Shawna Richter-Ryerson, Natural Resources
More details at: http://go.unl.edu/9f2x