Investigating the impact of changes in climate on water surface area: a case of lake Albert.
Nairima, Doreen Fiona
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Detection of changes in Earth surface features, for example, lakes, is important for understanding the rates of change in order to manage the increasingly scarce natural resources better. This work presents a procedure of using Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI) to detect fluctuations of Lake surface-water area and relate it to a changing climate. The study used radiometrically and geometrically rectified Landsat images for 1990, 2000, 2008 and 2010 encompassing Lake Albert of Uganda, in order to investigate the changes in the surface-water area between the respective years. It was observed that the rate at which No water converted into water between the periods 1990-2000, 2000-2008 and 2008-2017 is 21.19%, 78.38 %, and 17.66% respectively. From this study, there is a decrease in a water surface area by 1938.96 Ha observed between 1990 and 2017. The Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) was applied to investigate the climate characteristics (drought and wet years) using rainfall data obtained from a rain gauge near the lake. It was observed that most of the years had SPI between 0.99 to -0.99 thus a nearly normal climate around the lake. Later on, analyzing the relationship between variability of the surface-water area and climate characteristics revealed that surfacewater area fluctuation is linked to climate characteristics with a correlation coefficient, R2, of 0.5889 was obtained. This work has important implications to water resources management for Lake Albert and could be vital to water resource managers across Ugandan lakes.