Temporal Trajectory Analysis of Lake Surface Area: Case study on Lake Tana, Ethiopia


  • Abrham Zelalem
  • Eyaya Belay
  • Abel Markos


lake surface area, change detection, Normalized Difference of Water Index, Normalized Differential Vegetation Index


Lakes are facing challenges due to climatic and anthropogenic activities with slow changes causing unnoticed damages over a long time. The long term historic data provides concrete evidence of change. The earth observation satellites which include both geostationary and polar orbiting satellite provide different types of environmental data. The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the temporal trajectory change of the lake surface area of Lake Tana from 1985 – 2015 using geospatial technologies. The study uses seven Landsat TM and ETM+ images to detect the lake surface area change. The change was examined using modified normalized difference of Water index (MNDWI) method. This was attained by making use of ERDAS Imagine 2014 and ArcGIS10.1 software. The results of this study indicate that within the past three decades, the lake area has shown a significant decrease–about 362.74 sq.km. The area calculated from bathymetric surveys and the corresponding results from other alternative methods were gathered and computed with the findings of this study. The results portray that there is strong relationship between the estimates of lake surface area results of MNDWI with NDVI alongside the bathymetry results. Hence, lake surface area quantification and characterization using remote sensing and GIS techniques enables resource managers to project realistic change scenarios helpful for lake surface area management.