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Journal of Arid Land  2012, Vol. 4 Issue (2): 132-139    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2012.00132
Research Articles     
Effects of irrigation on precipitation in the arid regions of Xinjiang, China
Yong ZHAO1, YongJie FANG2, CaiXia CUI3, AnNing HUANG4
1 Institute of Desert Meteorology, China Meteorology Administration, Urumqi 830002, China;
2 Beijing Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China;
3 Xinjiang Meteorological Observatory, Urumqi 830002, China;
4 School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
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Abstract  Soil moisture is an important parameter for the interaction between soil and atmosphere. It is the second important factor that influences climate change, next to sea surface temperature (SST). Most previous studies focused on the monsoon regions in East China, and only a few laid emphases on arid environments. In Xinjiang, which is located in Northwest China, the climate is typically arid and semi-arid. During the past 20 years, the precipitation in Xinjiang has shown a significant increasing trend, and it is closely related to oasis irrigation. This paper aims at discussing whether abnormal soil moisture in spring can be the signal to forecast summer precipitation. The effects of abnormal soil moisture due to farm irrigation in spring in arid environments on regional climate are investigated by using a regional climate model (RegCM3). The results indicate that positive soil moisture anomaly in irrigated cropland surface in May led to an increase in precipitation in spring as well as across the whole summer. The impact could last for about four months. The effects of soil moisture on the surface air temperature showed a time-lagging trend. The summer air temperature declined by a maximum amplitude of 0.8ºC. The increased soil moisture could enhance evaporation and ascending motion in the low troposphere, which brought in more precipitation. The soil moisture affected regional weather and climate mainly by altering the surface sensible and latent heat fluxes.

Key wordsTibet      cryosphere      global warming      ecological environment     
Received: 14 September 2011      Published: 06 June 2012

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (40875010, 41005050), the Xinjiang Sci-ence and Technology Support Project (200891129), and the Global Change National Key Scientific Research Project (2011 CB952002).

Corresponding Authors: Yong ZHAO     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Yong ZHAO, YongJie FANG, CaiXia CUI, AnNing HUANG. Effects of irrigation on precipitation in the arid regions of Xinjiang, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 132-139.

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