EVALUATION AND ANALYSIS OF URMIA LAKE WATER LEVEL FLUCTUATIONS BETTWEN 1998-2006 USING LANDSAT IMAGES AND TOPEX ALTIMETRY DATA
Keywords: Urmia Lake, water volume fluctuation, lake shrinkage, critical points, lake area, Salient times
Abstract. The Lake Urmiah has undergone a drastic shrinkage in size over the past few decades. The initial intention of this paper is to present an approach for determining the so called “salient times” during which the trend of the shrinkage process is accelerated or decelerated. To find these salient times, a quasi_continuous curve was optimally fitted to the Topex altimetry data within the period 1998 to 2006. To find the salient points within this period of time, the points of inflections of the fitted curve is computed using a second derivative approach. The water volume was also computed using 16 cloud free Landsat images of the Lake within the periods of 1998 to 2006. In the first stage of the water volume calculation, the pixels of the Lake were segmented using the Automated Water Extraction Index (AWEI) and the shorelines of the Lake were extracted by a boundary detecting operator using the generated binary image of the Lake surface. The water volume fluctuation rate was then computed under the assumption that the two successive Lake surfaces and their corresponding water level differences demonstrate approximately a truncated pyramid. The analysis of the water level fluctuation rates were further extended by a sinusoidal curve fitted to the Topex altimetry data. This curve was intended to model the seasonal fluctuations of the water level. In the final stage of this article, the correlation between the fluctuation rates and the precipitation and temperature variations were also numerically determined. This paper reports in some details the stages mentioned above.