In recent decades, one of the largest water bodies in the Tibetan Plateau has grown even more.
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured this image of Siling Lake while orbiting above the northern Tibetan Plateau. Selincuo is also known as the lake. It is one of the largest bodies of water on the Tibetan Plateau. This image shows fresh snowfall from yesterday covering the landscape.
Siling Lake is located at an elevation of approximately 4,500m (14,860 ft). It is an endorheic high-altitude lake that does not drain through any outlets. Siling Lake is a saltwater body because of the lack of outflow. The lake water evaporates and concentrates salts.
Siling Lake's climate is usually below freezing between December and mid-April, which causes the lake to freeze. The lake was not frozen when this photograph was taken, which amplifies the contrast between the blue hues of water and the white snow.
Global climate changes have caused fluctuations in lake sizes. Waterbodies on the southern Tibetan Plateau have been shrinking while those on the northern part have been growing. Siling Lake has been increasing since the 1970s. Scientists have used a variety of modeling approaches to explain this trend. There are two possible causes for the growth of Siling Lake. One is an increase in glacial melt runoff or a decrease on annual wind speed between 1980 and 2000.
In 2018, the Ramsar wetlands were designated for the Tibet Selincuo Wetlands surrounding Siling Lake. The wetlands are home to two endangered species of eagles: the Pallas's fish eagle (Haliaetus leucoryphus), and the eastern imperial (Aquila Heliacal). The wetlands ecology also includes Gymnocypris sercuoensis fish, which are endemic to Siling Lake.Photograph of an astronaut, ISS066–E-86268 was taken on December 4, 2021 with a Nikon D5 digital cam using a focal length 400 millimeters. It was provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at Johnson Space Center. The Expedition 66 crew member took the image. The image has been cropped to increase contrast and lens artifacts removed. The International Space Station Program supports this laboratory as part the ISS National Lab. This is to ensure that astronauts can take images of Earth that are of greatest scientific and public value, and to make these images freely accessible on the Internet. You can view additional images taken by astronauts or cosmonauts at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Cosmonaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Cadan Cameron Cummings, Jacobs at NASA-JSC.