A global inventory of lakes based on high-resolution satellite imagery

Authors

  • Charles Verpoorter,

    Corresponding author
    1. INSU-CNRS, UMR 8187, LOG, Laboratoire d'Océanologie et des Géosciences, Université du Littoral Cote d'Opale, ULCO, Wimereux, France
    2. Department of Ecology and Genetics/Limnology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Tiit Kutser,

    1. Department of Ecology and Genetics/Limnology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
    2. Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, Tallinn, Estonia
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  • David A. Seekell,

    1. Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
    2. Now at Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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  • Lars J. Tranvik

    1. Department of Ecology and Genetics/Limnology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • This article was corrected on 3 MAR 2015. See the end of the full text for details.

Abstract

An accurate description of the abundance and size distribution of lakes is critical to quantifying limnetic contributions to the global carbon cycle. However, estimates of global lake abundance are poorly constrained. We used high-resolution satellite imagery to produce a GLObal WAter BOdies database (GLOWABO), comprising all lakes greater than 0.002 km2. GLOWABO contains geographic and morphometric information for ~117 million lakes with a combined surface area of about 5 × 106 km2, which is 3.7% of the Earth's nonglaciated land area. Large and intermediate-sized lakes dominate the total lake surface area. Overall, lakes are less abundant but cover a greater total surface area relative to previous estimates based on statistical extrapolations. The GLOWABO allows for the global-scale evaluation of fundamental limnological problems, providing a foundation for improved quantification of limnetic contributions to the biogeochemical processes at large scales.

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