Lake Ayakkum is located near the northern boundary of the Tibetan Plateau in central China.
Many closed basin saline lakes in Central Asia have been shrinking because of the construction of dams and aqueducts, as well as human expansion into previously uninhabitable desert areas. Lake Ayakkum, however, has been growing, as shown in these Landsat images acquired in 1992, 2003, and 2012. Increasing flows from small glacier- and snowmelt-fed streams help feed the lake. The development of a delta can be seen in the southwest portion of the lake.
Mapping and monitoring saline lakes with satellite imagery provides researchers and scientists a unique view of the changing lake dynamics, allowing them to assist decision makers who then can determine the best actions for water resource and ecosystem protection.