Surface water extent dynamics from three periods of continuous Landsat time series; subregional differences across Argentine plains

Vanina S. Aliaga, María C. Piccolo, Gerardo M. E. Perillo


The Pampean region in Argentina is an extensive plain characterized by abundant shallow lakes that fulfill many environmental, ecological, and social functions. This study aims to detect the multiannual lake area changes in this region during 2001-2009 using remote sensing, including lakes as small as ≥10,000 m2 or 1 ha. Landsat scenes of the wet (2008-2009), normal (2006), and dry (2008-2009) seasons were obtained, and using remote sensing techniques, the number and area of shallow lakes were calculated. The spatiotemporal variation of shallow lakes was studied in different climate periods in eight singular subregions. Spatial associations between annual precipitation and lake number and area were analyzed through the development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) at a subregional scale. During the study period the total lake area in the Pampean region decreased by 5257.39 km2 (62 %), but each subregion showed different responses to climatic events. In seven of them, the differences between climate periods prove to be statistically significant (P>0.01). The relationship between precipitation and lake number and area revealed the domain of positive association. We conclude that climate factors play a dominant role in lake changes across the Pampean plains. However, other factors such as origin, topographic and edaphic characteristics intensify or mitigate changes in surface hydrology.


Landsat; surface water dynamic; climate variability; Pampean lakes; Argentina

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