›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (5): 860-870.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1049-z

• Special Research on Sanjiangyuan • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Water quality and light absorption attributes of glacial lakes in Mount Qomolangma region

YAN Huimin, YAO Zhijun, HUANG Heqing, JIANG Dong, DONG Xiaohui, DUAN Rui, ZHANG Yili   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2012-05-28 Revised:2013-03-30 Online:2013-10-15 Published:2013-10-15
  • Contact: Yao Zhijun, Professor, E-mail: yaozj@igsnrr.ac.cn E-mail:yaozj@igsnrr.ac.cn
  • About author:Yan Huimin, Ph.D, specialized in land use change. E-mail: yanhm@igsnrr.ac.cn
  • Supported by:

    National Basic Research Program of China, No.2010CB951704; No.2010CB951702; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41190080; The Hindu-Kush-Karakorum-Himalaya (HKKH) Partnership Project "Institutional Consolidation for the Coordinated and Integrated Monitoring of Natural Resources towards Sustainable Development and Environmental Conservation in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya Mountain Complex"


As they are products of glacier movement, the water body composition and water quality attributes of glacial lakes have distinct characteristics compared with inland lakes. Although satellite remote sensing provides an effective approach to monitor water quality, lack of in-situ measurement data on the status and environment surrounding glacial lakes presents a major constraint in relating satellite data to water quality indicators. This study presents findings of a preliminary investigation into water quality attributes of 3 glacial lakes in the Mount Qomolangma region. Suspended particulate matter (SPM), light absorption attributes of phytoplankton, nonalgal particles (NAP), and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) were measured. The suspended substance concentration varies markedly from 0-320 mg/L. This is considered to reflect differing stages of lake development. The chlorophyll concentration is much lower than that found for inland lakes, as landscapes that surround these high altitude lakes have almost no vegetation growth. The phytoplankton and CDOM concentration depend on long-term stability of lake slopes. Given the lack of exogenous and endogenous inputs in the Qomolangma region, CDOM in glacial lakes is significantly lower than in inland lakes. These preliminary findings could support efforts to appraise estimates of water quality parameters using remotely sensed images.

Key words: Mount Qomolangma, glacial lake, water quality, light absorption, remote sensing