Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 115–130 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal characteristics of Qinghai Lake ice phenology between 2000 and 2016

  • Miaomiao Qi
  • Xiaojun YaoEmail author
  • Xiaofeng Li
  • Hongyu Duan
  • Yongpeng Gao
  • Juan Liu


Lake ice phenology is considered a sensitive indicator of regional climate change. We utilized time series information of this kind extracted from a series of multi-source remote sensing (RS) datasets including the MOD09GQ surface reflectance product, Landsat TM/ETM+ images, and meteorological records to analyze spatiotemporal variations of ice phenology of Qinghai Lake between 2000 and 2016 applying both RS and GIS technology. We also identified the climatic factors that have influenced lake ice phenology over time and draw a number of conclusions. First, data show that freeze-up start (FUS), freeze-up end (FUE), break-up start (BUS), and break-up end (BUE) on Qinghai Lake usually occurred in mid-December, early January, mid-to-late March, and early April, respectively. The average freezing duration (FD, between FUE and BUE), complete freezing duration (CFD, between FUE and BUS), ice coverage duration (ICD, between FUS and BUE), and ablation duration (AD, between BUS and BUE) were 88 days, 77 days, 108 days and 10 days, respectively. Second, while the results of this analysis reveal considerable differences in ice phenology on Qinghai Lake between 2000 and 2016, there has been relatively little variation in FUS times. Data show that FUE dates had also tended to fluctuate over time, initially advancing and then being delayed, while the opposite was the case for BUS dates as these advanced between 2012 and 2016. Overall, there was a shortening trend of Qinghai Lake’s FD in two periods, 2000–2005 and 2010–2016, which was shorter than those seen on other lakes within the hinterland of the Tibetan Plateau. Third, Qinghai Lake can be characterized by similar spatial patterns in both freeze-up (FU) and break-up (BU) processes, as parts of the surface which freeze earlier also start to melt first, distinctly different from some other lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. A further feature of Qinghai Lake ice phenology is that FU duration (between 18 days and 31 days) is about 10 days longer than BU duration (between 7 days and 20 days). Fourth, data show that negative temperature accumulated during the winter half year (between October and the following April) also plays a dominant role in ice phenology variations of Qinghai Lake. Precipitation and wind speed both also exert direct influences on the formation and melting of lake ice cover and also cannot be neglected.


lake ice phenology freeze-up and break-up MODIS Qinghai Lake 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benson B J, Magnuson J J, Jensen O P et al., 2012. Extreme events, trends, and variability in Northern Hemisphere lake ice phenology (1855–2005). Climatic Change, 112(2): 299–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cai Y, Ke C Q, Duan Z, 2017. Monitoring ice variations in Qinghai Lake from 1979 to 2016 using passive microwave remote sensing data. Science of the Total Environment, 607: 120–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Che Tao, Li Xin, Jin Rui, 2009. Monitoring the frozen duration of Qinghai Lake using satellite passive microwave remote sensing low frequency data. Chinese Science Bulletin, 54(6): 787–791. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  4. Chen Xianzhang, Wang Guangyu, Li Wenjun et al., 1995. Lake ice and its remote sensing monitoring in the Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 17(3): 241–246. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Choinski A, Kolendowicz L, Pociask K J et al., 2010. Changes in lake ice cover on the Morskie Oko Lake in Poland (1971–2007). Advances in Climate Change Research, 1(2): 71–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dibike Y, Prowse T, Bonsal B et al., 2012. Simulation of North American lake-ice cover characteristics under contemporary and future climate conditions. International Journal of Climatology, 32(5): 695–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dong H M, Song Y G, 2011. Shrinkage history of Lake Qinghai and causes during the last 52 years. In: International Symposium on Water Resource & Environmental Protection (ISWREP), 446–449.Google Scholar
  8. Duan Anmin, Xiao Zhixiang, Wu Guoxiong, 2016. Characteristics of climate change over the Tibetan Plateau under global warming during 1979–2014. Progressus Inquisitiones De Mutatione Climatis, 12(5): 374–381. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  9. Duguay C R, Prowse T D, Bonsal B R et al., 2006. Recent trends in Canadian lake ice cover. Hydrological Processes, 20(4): 781–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gou Peng, Ye Qinghua, Wei Qiufang, 2015. Lake ice change at the Namco Lake on the Tibetan Plateau during 2000–2013 and influencing factors. Progress in Geography, 34(10): 1241–1249. (in Chinese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hall D K, Riggs G A, 2002. MODIS snow-cover products. Remote Sensing of Environment, 83(1): 181–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnson S L, Stefan H G, 2006. Indicators of climate warming in Minnesota: Lake ice covers and snowmelt runoff. Climate Change, 75(4): 421–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kang S C, Xu Y W, You Q L et al., 2010. Review of climate and cryospheric change on the Tibetan Plateau. Environmental Research Letters, 5(1): 015101. Doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/015101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ke C Q, Tao A Q, Jin X, 2013. Variability in the ice phenology of Nam Co Lake in central Tibet from scanning multichannel microwave radiometer and special sensor microwave/imager: 1978 to 2013. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 7(1): 073477. doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.7.073477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kropácek J, Maussion F, Chen F et al., 2013. Analysis of ice phenology of lakes on the Tibetan Plateau from MODIS data. Cryosphere, 7(1): 287–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Latifovic R, Pouliot D, 2007. Analysis of climate change impacts on lake ice phenology in Canada using the historical satellite data record. Remote Sensing of Environment, 106(4): 492–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lei Ruibo, Li Zhijun, Zhang Zhanhai et al., 2011. Comparisons of thermodynamic processes between lake ice and landfast sea ice around Zhongshan Station, East Antarctica. Chinese Journal of Polar Research, 23(4): 289–298. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. Lenormand F, Duguay C R, Gauthier R, 2002. Development of a historical ice database for the study of climate change in Canada. Hydrological Processes, 16(18): 3707–3722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li Fengxia, Fu Yang, Yang Qing et al., 2008. Climate change and its environmental effects in the surrounding area of Qinghai Lake. Resources Sciences, 30(3): 348–353. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  20. Ma R, Yang G, Duan H et al., 2011. China’s lakes at present: Number, area and spatial distribution. Science China Earth Sciences, 54(2): 283–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ma Yuwei, Zhang Jingran, Liu Xiangjun et al., 2011. Lake level fluctuations in Qinghai Lake since the Last Deglaciation. Journal of Salt Lake Research, 19(3): 19–25. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  22. Magnuson J J, Robertson D M, Benson B J et al., 2000. Historical trends in lake and river ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Nature, 289(5485): 1743–1746.Google Scholar
  23. Marszelewski W, Skowron R, 2006. Ice cover as an indicator of winter air temperature changes: Case study of the Polish Lowland lakes. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 51(2): 336–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oveisy A, Boegman L, Imberger J, 2014. One-dimensional simulation of lake and ice dynamics during winter. Journal of Limnology, 73(3): 43–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pan Baotian, Li Jijun. Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: A driver and amplifier of the global climatic change III. The effects of the uplift of Tibetan Plateau on climate changes. Journal of Lanzhou University (Natural Sciences), 1996, 32(1): 108–115. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  26. Qin Dahe. Climate and Environment Change in China: 2012 Comprehensive Volume. Beijing: China Meteorological Press, 2012. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Qu Bin, Kang Shichang, Chen Feng et al., 2012. Lake ice and its effect factors in the Nam Co basin, Tibetan Plateau. Progressus Inquisitiones de Mutatione Climatis, 8(5): 327–333. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  28. Reed B, Budde M, Spencer P et al., 2009. Integration of MODIS-derived metrics to assess interannual variability in snowpack, lake ice, and NDVI in southwest Alaska. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113(7): 1443–1452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sun Yongliang, Li Xiaoyan, Xu Heye, 2007. Daily precipitation and temperature variations in Qinghai Lake watershed in recent 40 years. Arid Meteorology, 25(1): 7–13. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  30. Tao Anqi, 2014. Research on the variation of Namco Lake ice by passive microwave remote sensing [D]. Nanjing: Nanjing University. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  31. Vaughan D G, Comiso J C, Allison I et al., 2013. Observations: Cryosphere. In: Stocker T F, Qin D, Plattner G K et al., Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Wan W, Xiao P F, Feng X Z et al., 2014. Monitoring lake changes of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau over the past 30 years using satellite remote sensing data. Chinese Science Bulletin, 59(10): 1021–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang J, Bai X, Hu H et al., 2012. Temporal and spatial variability of Great Lakes ice cover, 1973–2010. Journal of Climate, 25(4): 1318–1329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang J, Hu H, Schwab D et al., 2010. Development of the great lakes ice-circulation model (GLIM): Application to Lake Erie in 2003–2004. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 36(3): 425–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Weber H, Riffler M, Nõges T et al., 2016. Lake ice phenology from AVHRR data for European lakes: An automated two-step extraction method. Remote Sensing of Environment, 174: 329–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wei Qiufang, Ye Qinghua, 2010. Review of lake ice monitoring by remote sensing. Progress in Geography, 29(7): 803–810. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  37. Weyhenmeyer G A, Meili M, Livingstone D M, 2004. Nonlinear temperature response of lake ice breakup. Geophysical Research Letters, 31(31): 157–175.Google Scholar
  38. Xin Yufei, Bian Lingen, 2008. Progress of prediction of the global cryosphere change. Chinese Journal of Polar Research, 20(3): 671–682. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  39. Yao Xiaojun, Li Long, Zhao Jun et al., 2016. Spatial-temporal variations of lake ice in the Hoh Xil region from 2000 to 2011. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 26(1): 70–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yin Qingjun, Yang Yinglian, 2005. Remote sensing monitoring of Qinghai Lake based on EOS/MODIS data. Journal of Lake Sciences, 17(4): 356–360. (in Chinese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. You Q, Min J, Kang S, 2016. Rapid warming in the Tibetan Plateau from observations and CMIP5 model in recent decades. International Journal of Climatology, 36(6): 2660–2670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zaikov, 1963. Introduction to Lake Science. Beijing: The Commercial Press. (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miaomiao Qi
    • 1
  • Xiaojun Yao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaofeng Li
    • 1
  • Hongyu Duan
    • 1
  • Yongpeng Gao
    • 1
  • Juan Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Geography and Environment SciencesNorthwest Normal UniversityLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations