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Spatial and temporal changes at Tuzla (Palas) Lake in Turkey


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Saline lakes are widespread throughout the arid and semi-arid regions of the world and have considerable ecological importance. They are also very vulnerable to climatic changes or changes in their hydrological regimes. Most saline lakes of Turkey are close to the verge of extinction due to natural and anthropogenic impacts. This study analyzes the spatial and temporal changes at a relatively pristine saline lake (Tuzla (Palas) Lake) in Kayseri, Turkey, from 1987 to 2011 using satellite imagery techniques. Landsat Thematic Mapper images acquired in 1987, 2000, 2003, and 2011 were used in the analysis. The images were geometrically corrected by registering them to ground control points. The study area on each image was classified into seven information classes, i.e., water, watery ground, dry lake, mud/vegetated flats, salt flats, shrubs/sedges, and agriculture. The accuracies of the classifications were evaluated using a standard error matrix and kappa statistics. The analysis showed that the surface area of Tuzla Lake was highly variable during the 1987–2011 period. Lake surface area was the largest in 1987 and the smallest in 2003. Analysis of the climatic conditions for 4 years showed that the surface area of the lake is highly vulnerable to changes in precipitation and air temperatures.

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