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Journal of Arid Land  2013, Vol. 5 Issue (1): 15-24    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0137-3
Research Articles     
Changes in terrestrial surface dry and wet conditions on the Loess Plateau (China) during the last half century
YuBi YAO1,2,3,4, RunYuan WANG1, JinHu YANG4, Ping YUE1, DengRong LU5, GuoJu XIAO6, Yang WANG4, LinChun LIU4
1 China Meteorological Administration Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Reducing Disaster, Lanzhou 730020, China;
2 Gansu Province Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Reducing Disaster, Lanzhou 730020, China;
3 Lanzhou Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou 730020, China;
4 Meteorological Bureau of Dingxi City, Dingxi 743000, China;
5 Gansu Meteorological Information Center, Lanzhou 730020, China;
6 New Technology Application Research and Development Centre of Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
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Abstract  This paper, using a revised Penman-Monteith model, computed the terrestrial surface humidity index of the Loess Plateau (China) based on climatic factors of monthly mean temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed and sunshine duration observed on the plateau from 1961 to 2008. The temporal-spatial distribution, anomaly distribution and sub-regional temporal variations of the terrestrial surface dry and wet conditions were analyzed as well. The results showed a decreasing trend in the annual average surface humidity from the southeast to the northwest in the research area. Over the period of 1961–2008, an aridification tendency appeared sharply in the central interior region of the Loess Plateau, and less sharply in the middle part of the region. The border region showed the weakest tendency of aridification. It is clear that aridification diffused in all directions from the interior region. The spatial anomaly distribution of the terrestrial surface dry and wet conditions on the Loess Plateau can be divided into three key areas: the southern, western and eastern regions. The terrestrial annual humidity index displayed a significantly descending trend and showed remarkable abrupt changes from wet to dry in the years 1967, 1977 and 1979. In the above mentioned three key areas for dry and wet conditions, the terrestrial annual humidity index exhibited a fluctuation period of 3–4 years, while in the southern region, a fluctuation period of 7–8 years existed at the same time.

Key words transdisciplinary research      land and water management      ecosystem services     
Received: 02 May 2012      Published: 06 March 2013

The National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB955903, 2012CB955304), the Special Fund for Public Welfare Industry (GYHY201106029, GYHY200806021), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40830957), the China Meteoro-logical Administration Special Program for Climatic Change (280200S011C00), and the Drought Meteorology Science Re-search Program (IAM201111).

Corresponding Authors: YuBi YAO      E-mail:
Cite this article:

YuBi YAO, RunYuan WANG, JinHu YANG, Ping YUE, DengRong LU, GuoJu XIAO, Yang WANG, LinChun LIU. Changes in terrestrial surface dry and wet conditions on the Loess Plateau (China) during the last half century. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(1): 15-24.

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