Water level fluctuations of inland lakes are related to regional-scale climate changes, and reflect variations in evaporation, precipitation and glacier meltwater flowing into the lake area in its catchment. In this paper, Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) altimeter data and Landsat imagery (2002-09) are used to estimate Nam Co lake (Nyainqentanglha range, Tibetan Plateau) water elevation changes during 2002-09. In 2003 Nam Co lake covered an area of ~1998.8 ± 4.2 km2 and was situated at 4723 m a.s.l. Over such inland water bodies, ICESat altimeter data offer both wide coverage and spatial and temporal accuracy. We combine remote-sensing and GIS technology to map and reconstruct lake area and increased volume changes during a 7 year time series. Nam Co lake water level increased by 2.4±0.12m (0.33ma–1) between 23 February 2003 and 1 October 2009, and lake volume increased by 4.9 ±0.5 km3. In the past 7 years, Nam Co lake area has increased from 1998.78 ±5.4 to 2023.8 ±3.4 km2, the glacier-covered area has decreased from 832.34 to 821.0 km2 and the drainage basin area has decreased from 201.1 ±4.2 to 196.1 ±2.3 km2. However, the most spectacular feature is the continual water level rise from 2003 to 2009 without an obvious associated increase in precipitation. Based on digital elevation models (DEMs) from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM data and corrected ICESat elevation data, significant changes to glacier mass balance in the western Nyainqentanglha mountains are indicated. Nyainqentanglha mountain glacier surface elevations decreased by 8.39 ± 0.45 m during 2003-09. Over the same period, at least 1.01 km3 of glacial meltwater flowed into Nam Co lake, assuming a glacial runoff coefficient of 0.6. The mean glacier mass-balance value is -490mmw.e. over the corresponding period, indicating that glacier meltwater in the catchment contributes to lake level rise. The contribution rate of glacial meltwater to lake water volume rise is 20.75%. The temporal lake level fluctuation correlates with temperature variations over the same time span.