Water clarity (Secchi disk depth, SDD) provides a sensitive tool to examine the spatial pattern and historical trend in lakes’ trophic status. However, this metric has been insufficiently explored despite the availability of remotely-sensed data. Based on the published SDD datasets derived from Landsat images, we analyzed the spatial and inter-annual variations in water clarity and examined the impact of natural and anthropogenic factors on these trends at multiple scales, i.e., five lake regions, provinces, and watersheds. Lake clarity was lowest in Northeast (0.60 ± 0.09 m) and East China (1.23 ± 0.17 m) and highest in the Tibet Plateau (3.32 ± 0.38 m). Over the past 35 years, we found a significant trend of increased SDD in 18 (out of 32) provinces (only Yunnan province exhibited a significant decreasing trend) and in 77 (out of 155) watersheds (only 5 watersheds showed a significant decreasing trend). Lakes in eastern-northeastern China exhibited a higher probability of decreasing trend, while the trend was inverse for lakes in the Tibet-Qinghai region. The results of water clarity interannual change trends showed they were closely related to the spatial scale of analysis. At the watershed level, these trends were mainly driven by anthropogenic factors, with night-time brightness (13.84%), agricultural fertilizer use (11.17%), and wastewater (9.64%) being the most important. Natural factors (temperature, wind, and NDVI) explained about 18.2% of the SDD variance. Our findings for the SDD spatio-temporal trend provide valuable information for guiding water protection management policy-making and reinforcement in China.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call