Articles | Volume 22
17 Dec 2009
 | 17 Dec 2009

First insights on Lake General Carrera/Buenos Aires/Chelenko water balance

G. Zambrano, R. Abarca del Rio, J.-F. Cretaux, and B. Reid

Abstract. Lago General Carrera (Chile) also called Lago Buenos Aires (Argentina) or originally Chelenko by the native habitants of the region is located in Patagonia on the Chilean-Argentinean border. It is the largest lake in Chile with a surface area of 1850 km2. The lake is of glacial/tectonic origin and surrounded by the Andes mountain range. The lake drains primarily to the Pacific Ocean to the west, through the Baker River (one of Chile's largest rivers), and intermittently eastward to the Atlantic Ocean. We report ongoing results from an investigation of the seasonal hydrological cycle of the lake basin. The contribution by river input through snowmelt from the Andes is of primary importance, though the lack of water input by ungaged rivers is also critical. We present the main variables involved in the water balance of Lake General Carrera/Buenos Aires/Chelenko, such as influent and effluent river flows, precipitation, and evaporation, all this based mostly in in-situ information.