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Journal of Arid Land
Research Articles     
Causes of recurring drought patterns in Xinjiang, China
Rashed MAHMOOD, ShuangLin LI, Babar KHAN
1 Nansen-Zhu International Research Center, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS, Beijing 100029, China; 2 Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
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Abstract  Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, with its unique topography and geographical location receives very less precipitation in summer as compared with other parts of China. The region is a land locked where moisture is supplied only by westerly winds from Atlantic Ocean as the moisture coming from Indian Ocean is mostly blocked by the Himalayas Range and the Tibetan plateau. In such a scenario, Xinjiang faces severe drought conditions offering significant challenges to water management. In this paper, we analyzed the drought periods in Xinjiang and discussed the various factors that might have influenced precipitation over the past forty-four years. For this purpose, we defined three periods of consecutive four years for high and low precipitation intensities. The average observed precipitation was 1.05 mm/day and 0.7 mm/day in summer (June-July-August) for the Tianshan Mountain region and Junggar Basin of Xinjiang, respectively. The drought conditions indicated that high sea level pressure, wind divergence and low convection were the prominent features that caused the droughts, which often do not allow the condensation process to coagulate the tiny water droplets into relatively large raindrops reducing the amount of precipitation in the region. The period of 1983-1986 is the lowest precipitation interval indicating the severe drought in the western Xinjiang (i.e western Tianshan Mountain region), for which, less moisture availability, strong divergence and less convection could be the most influencing factors.

Key wordsatmospheric deposition      nitrogen      nutrient management      ecological impacts     
Received: 06 August 2010      Published: 07 December 2010
Corresponding Authors: Babar KHAN     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Rashed MAHMOOD, ShuangLin LI, Babar KHAN. Causes of recurring drought patterns in Xinjiang, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2010, 2(4): 279-285.

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