acquired July 10, 2022
Parched Poyang Lake
- Landsat 8 - OLI
- Data Date: July 10, 2022 - August 27, 2022
- Visualization Date: September 1, 2022
Poyang Lake, in China’s Jiangxi Province, routinely fluctuates in size between the winter and summer seasons. In winter, water levels on the lake in are typically low. Then, summer rains cause the country’s largest freshwater lake to swell as water flows in from the Yangtze River.
The lake has not swelled in the summer of 2022. A prolonged heat wave and drought across much of the Yangtze River Basin dried the lake out early and pushed water levels to lows not seen in decades.
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired these pairs of images on July 10, 2022 (left images), and August 27, 2022 (right images). The images are composites, and combine OLI observations of shortwave infrared, near infrared, and visible light.
acquired July 10 - August 27, 2022
The highest water levels of the year on Poyang Lake occurred on June 23 (as measured at the Xingzi Station). After that, high temperatures and a lack of rain caused the lake to drop rapidly, according to the Jiangxi Hydrological Monitoring Center. By August 6, water levels had declined to 11.99 meters (39.33 feet), marking what the center called the start of the lake’s “dry season.” That low came roughly 100 days earlier than usual. It was the earliest date that the water dropped to such a low mark since records were first kept in 1951. Water levels have continued to drop, registering 8.96 meters (29.4 feet) on August 30.
The emptying of Poyang Lake has disrupted irrigation, shipping, and drinking water systems for nearby communities. In addition, millions of people living throughout the Yangtze River watershed are being affected as extreme heat and drought put pressure on China’s water supplies, electricity generation, farming, and industrial activity.
- Associated Press (2022, August 23) Its largest lake is so dry, China digs deep to water crops. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- The European Space Agency (2022, August 24) Drought causes Yangtze to shrink. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Jiangxi Hydrological Monitoring Center (2022, August 6) Poyang Lake is the first to enter the dry season. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Sixth Tone (2022, August 9) Sixth Tone. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- South China Morning Post (2022, August 31) China’s record heatwave, worst drought in decades. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Xinhua (2022, August 31) Tidal-flat in Poyang Lake presents landscape of a tree. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- The Weather Channel (2022, September 1) China’s Largest Freshwater Lake Is Now 25% Of Its Average Size. Accessed September 1, 2022.