ASTER views a high altitude Tibetan Lake in stereo



The lakes of the Tibetan Plateau (Figure 1) have been investigated by Western and Chinese scientists over many years [e.g., Gasse et al, 1991;Zheng, 1997]. They are often located in extremely remote and inhospitable terrain at altitudes above 4000 m and, as a result, boat-based research campaigns aimed toward an improved understanding of the limnology and limnogeology of these water bodies are time consuming and difficult to perform.

In order to support recent field studies of the Tibetan lakes, high spatial resolution imagery acquired by ASTER (the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) has been used.These data were gathered in the visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared bands as ASTER operated on the TERRA platform [Yamaguchi et al, 1998], a component of NASAs Earth Observing System (EOS).The research outlined here has benefited, in particular, from the availability of stereo data gathered by ASTER, in which regions are imaged first at nadir and then from a backward looking slant view some 55 s later in the near-infrared (channel 3B, 0.781–0.86 µm).