Lake Urmia, located in northwest Iran, was among the world's largest hypersaline lakes but has now experienced a 7 m decrease in water level, from 1278 m to 1271 over 1996 to 2019. There is doubt as to whether the pixel-based analysis (PBA) approach's answer to the lake's drying is a natural process or a result of human intervention. Here, a non-parametric Mann-Kendall trend test was applied to a 21-year record (2000−2020) of satellite data products, i.e., temperature, precipitation, snow cover, and irrigated vegetation cover (IVC). The Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud-computing platform utilized over 10 sub-basins in three provinces surrounding Lake Urmia to obtain and calculate pixel-based monthly and seasonal scales for the products. Canonical correlation analysis was employed in order to understand the correlation between variables and lake water level (LWL). The trend analysis results show significant increases in temperature (from 1 to 2 °C during 2000–2020) over May–September, i.e., in 87 %–25 % of the basin. However, precipitation has seen an insignificant decrease (from 3 to 9 mm during 2000–2019) in the rainy months (April and May). Snow cover has also decreased and, when compared with precipitation, shows a change in precipitation patterns from snow to rain. IVC has increased significantly in all sub-basins, especially the southern parts of the lake, with the West province making the largest contribution to the development of IVC. According to the PBA, this analysis underpins the very high contribution of IVC to the drying of the lake in more detail, although the contribution of climate change in this matter is also apparent. The development of IVC leads to increased water consumption through evapotranspiration and excess evaporation caused by the storage of water for irrigation. Due to the decreased runoff caused by consumption exceeding the basin's capacity, the lake cannot be fed sufficiently.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer