Temporal Scaling of Water Level Fluctuations in Shallow Lakes and Its Impacts on the Lake Eco-Environments
Managing lake water levels from an ecological perspective has become an urgent issue in recent years in efforts to protect, conserve, and restore lake eco-environments. In this study, we considered the actual situation of Ebinur Lake basin to develop a lake water balance model using a System Dynamics (SD) method. The objective of this study is based on the lake water balance model to sufficiently understand the variation and relationship between the lake depth–area–volume. We combined field
... stigations and hydrological data analysis to expose the major factors affecting lake water level fluctuations (WLFs), as well as the impact of WLFs on lake eco-environments. All with the aim of providing a theoretical basis to manage Ebinur Lake ecosystems for conservation and restoration. The main findings of this study include: (I) The model's calculation results agree with the observation value, as the monthly lake surface area was used to validate the model. (II) The factors influencing the dynamic changes in the water level of the lake are ranked in ascending order (from the lowest to the highest) as follows: Precipitation, groundwater recharge, evaporation, river inflow. (III) Fluctuations in water level play a significant role in lake shoreline displacement variation, and when the lake's water level drops below 1 m, the surface area of the water body decreases to approximately 106 km2. (IV) The magnitude and frequency of WLFs drive major differences in the ecology of lake littoral zones, influencing not only the structure and functioning of benthic assemblages but also littoral habitat structure. These results established a quantitative linkage between hydrological variables and ecosystem health for the Ebinur Lake wetlands. These findings could be widely used in managing the Ebinur Lake basin as well as other similar water bodies, and could provide a useful tool for managing lake ecosystems for conservation and restoration.