Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-378
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-378
12 Mar 2021
 | 12 Mar 2021
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal ESSD but the revision was not accepted.

High-resolution dataset of thermokarst lakes on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Xu Chen, Cuicui Mu, Lin Jia, Zhilong Li, Chengyan Fan, Mei Mu, Xiaoqing Peng, and Xiaodong Wu

Abstract. The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), the largest high-altitude and low-latitude permafrost zone in the world, has experienced rapid permafrost degradation in recent decades, and one of the most remarkable resulting characteristics is the formation of thermokarst lakes. Such lakes have attracted significant attention because of their ability to regulate carbon cycle, water, and energy fluxes. However, the distribution of thermokarst lakes in this area remains largely unknown, hindering our understanding of the response of permafrost and its carbon feedback to climate change. Here, based on the Google Earth Engine platform, we examined the modern distribution (2018) of thermokarst lakes on the QTP using Sentinel-2A data; for the first time providing the true spatial distribution by using a resolution of 10 m with a relative error of 0–0.5. Results show that the total thermokarst lake area on the QTP is 1730.34 m2 km2, accounting for approximately 4 % of the total water area of lakes and ponds, and that overall thermokarst lake density is 12/100 m2 km2. More specifically, the densities of thermokarst lakes in the land types of alpine desert steppe (16/100 km2) and barren land (17/100 km2) were larger than those of alpine meadows (13/100 km2), alpine steppe (11/100 km2), and wet meadow (11/100 km2). These findings provide a scientific foundation for future investigations into the effects of climate change on the permafrost environment and carbon emissions from rapidly developing thermokarst landscapes. Data are made available as open access via the National Tibetan Plateau Data Center (Chen et al., 2021) with DOI: 10.11888/Geocry.tpdc.271205 (https://data.tpdc.ac.cn/en/data/c0c05207-568d-41db-ab94-8610bdcdbbe5/).

Xu Chen, Cuicui Mu, Lin Jia, Zhilong Li, Chengyan Fan, Mei Mu, Xiaoqing Peng, and Xiaodong Wu

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2020-378', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 May 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Xu Chen, 25 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2020-378', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 May 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Xu Chen, 25 May 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2020-378', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 May 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Xu Chen, 25 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2020-378', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 May 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Xu Chen, 25 May 2021
Xu Chen, Cuicui Mu, Lin Jia, Zhilong Li, Chengyan Fan, Mei Mu, Xiaoqing Peng, and Xiaodong Wu
Xu Chen, Cuicui Mu, Lin Jia, Zhilong Li, Chengyan Fan, Mei Mu, Xiaoqing Peng, and Xiaodong Wu

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Latest update: 13 Apr 2024
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Short summary
Thermokarst lakes have attracted significant attention because of their ability to regulate carbon cycle. Now, the distribution of thermokarst lakes on QTP remains largely unknown, hindering our understanding of the response of permafrost's carbon feedback to climate change. Here, based on the GEE platform, we examined the modern distribution (2018) of thermokarst lakes on the QTP using Sentinel-2A data. Results show that the total thermokarst lake area on the QTP is 1730.34 m2 km2.
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