Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 115-130.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1587-0

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal characteristics of Qinghai Lakeice phenology between 2000 and 2016

Miaomiao QI(), Xiaojun YAO*(), Xiaofeng LI, Hongyu DUAN, Yongpeng GAO, Juan LIU   

  1. College of Geography and Environment Sciences, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2018-02-07 Accepted:2018-03-28 Online:2019-01-25 Published:2019-01-25
  • Contact: Xiaojun YAO;
  • About author:

    Author: Qi Miaomiao (1993-), Masters Candidate, specialized in research on lake ice phenology. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Opening Foundation Project of the State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Sciences, CAS, SKLCS-OP-2016-10;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41261016, No.41561016;Youth Scholar Scientific Capability Promoting Project of Northwest Normal University, No.NWNU-LKQN-14-4


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.

Key words: lake ice, phenology, freeze-up and break-up, MODIS, Qinghai Lake