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31 December 2021, Volume 13 Issue 12 Previous Issue   
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Original article
Effects of restoration modes on the spatial distribution of soil physical properties after land consolidation: a multifractal analysis
KE Zengming, LIU Xiaoli, MA Lihui, TU Wen, FENG Zhe, JIAO Feng, WANG Zhanli
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1201-1214.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0027-z
Abstract ( 21 )   HTML ( 11 )     PDF (1834KB) ( 16 )  

Soil physical properties (SPP) are considered to be important indices that reflect soil structure, hydrological conditions and soil quality. It is of substantial interest to study the spatial distribution of SPP owing to the high spatial variability caused by land consolidation under various land restoration modes in excavated farmland in the loess hilly area of China. In our study, three land restoration modes were selected including natural restoration land (NR), alfalfa land (AL) and maize land (ML). Soil texture composition, including the contents of clay, silt and sand, field capacity (FC), saturated conductivity (Ks) and bulk density (BD) were determined using a multifractal analysis. SPP were found to possess variable characteristics, although land consolidation destroyed the soil structure and decreased the spatial autocorrelation. Furthermore, SPP varied with land restoration and could be illustrated by the multifractal parameters of D1, ∆D, ∆α and ∆f in different modes of land restoration. Owing to multiple compaction from large machinery in the surface soil, soil particles were fine-grained and increased the spatial variability in soil texture composition under all the land restoration modes. Plough numbers and vegetative root characteristics had the most significant impacts on the improvement in SPP, which resulted in the best spatial distribution characteristics of SPP found in ML compared with those in AL and NR. In addition, compared with ML, ∆α values of NR and AL were 4.9- and 3.0-fold that of FC, respectively, and ∆α values of NR and AL were 2.3- and 1.5-fold higher than those of Ks, respectively. These results indicate that SPP can be rapidly improved by increasing plough numbers and planting vegetation types after land consolidation. Thus, we conclude that ML is an optimal land restoration mode that results in favorable conditions to rapidly improve SPP.

Contribution of underlying terrain to sand dunes: evidence from the Qaidam Basin, Northwest China
LI Jiyan, QU Xin, DONG Zhibao, CAI Yingying, LIU Min, REN Xiaozong, CUI Xujia
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1215-1229.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0028-y
Abstract ( 10 )   HTML ( 13 )     PDF (3434KB) ( 7 )  

Underlying terrain strongly influences dune formation. However, the impacts of underlying terrain on the dune formation are poorly studied. In the present research, we focused on dunes that formed in the alluvial fans and dry salt flats in the Qaidam Basin, Northwest China. We quantified the dunes' sediment characteristics on different types of underlying terrain and the terrain's effects on the surface quartz grains by analyzing grain-size distribution, soluble salt contents and grain surface micro-textures. Results showed that barchan dunes were dominated by medium sands with a unimodal frequency distribution, whose peak corresponded to the saltation load. Linear dunes were mainly composed of fine sands with a bimodal frequency distribution, whose main peak represented the saltation load, and whose secondary peak represented the modified saltation or suspension load. Sand was transported from source area by running water (inland rivers) over short distances and by wind over relatively longer distances. Thus, quartz grains had poor roundness and were dominated by sub-angular and angular shapes. Surface micro-textures indicated that dune sands were successively transported by exogenic agents (glaciation, fluviation and wind). Soluble salt contents were low in dunes that developed in the alluvial fans, which represented a low-energy chemical environment, so the grain surface micro-textures mainly resulted from mechanical erosion, with weak micro-textures formed by SiO2 solution and precipitation. However, soluble salt contents were much higher in dunes that developed in the dry salt flats, which indicated a high-energy chemical environment. Therefore, in addition to micro-structures caused by mechanical erosion, micro-textures formed by SiO2 solution and precipitation also well developed. Our results improve understanding of the sediment characteristics of dune sands and the effects of underlying terrain on dune development in the Qaidam Basin, China.

Characterizing the spatiotemporal variations of evapotranspiration and aridity index in mid-western China from 2001 to 2016
MU Le, LU Yixiao, LIU Minguo, YANG Huimin, FENG Qisheng
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1230-1243.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0087-0
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Mid-western China is one of the most sensitive and fragile areas on the Earth. Evapotranspiration (ET) is a key part of hydrological cycle in these areas and is affected by both global climate change and human activities. The dynamic changes in ET and potential evapotranspiration (PET), which can reflect water consumption and demand, are still unclear, and there is a lack of predictive capacity on drought severity. In this study, we used global MODIS (moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer) terrestrial ET (MOD16) products, Morlet wavelet analysis, and simple linear regression to investigate the spatiotemporal variations of ET, PET, reference ET (ET0), and aridity index (AI) in mid-western pastoral regions of China (including Gansu Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region) from 2001 to 2016. The results showed that the overall ET gradually increased from east to southwest in the study area. Actual ET showed an increasing trend, whereas PET tended to decrease from 2001 to 2016. The change in ET was affected by vegetation types. During the study period, the average annual ET0 and AI tended to decrease. At the monthly scale within a year, AI value decreased from January to July and then increased. The interannual variations of ET0 and AI showed periodicity with a main period of 14 a, and two other periodicities of 11 and 5 a. This study showed that in recent years, drought in these pastoral regions of mid-western China has been alleviated. Therefore, it is foreseeable that the demand for irrigation water for agricultural production in these regions will decrease.

Drought and flood characteristics in the farming- pastoral ecotone of northern China based on the Standardized Precipitation Index
CAO Huicong, YAN Dandan, JU Yuelin
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1244-1259.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0111-4
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The farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China (FPENC) provides an important ecological barrier which restrains the invasion of desert into Northwest China. Studying drought and flood characteristics in the FPENC can provide scientific support and practical basis for the protection of the FPENC. Based on monthly precipitation data from 115 meteorological stations, we determined the changes in climate and the temporal and spatial variations of drought and flood occurrence in the FPENC during 1960-2020 using the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), Morlet wavelet transform, and inverse distance weighted interpolation method. Annual precipitation in the FPENC showed a slightly increasing trend from 1960 to 2020, with an increasing rate of about 1.15 mm/a. The interannual SPI exhibited obvious fluctuations, showing an overall non-significant upward trend (increasing rate of 0.02/a). Therefore, the study area showed a wetting trend in recent years. Drought and flood disasters mainly occurred on an interannual change cycle of 2-6 and 9-17 a, respectively. In the future, a tendency towards drought can be expected in the FPENC. The temporal and spatial distribution of drought and flood differed in the northwestern, northern, and northeastern segments of the FPENC, and most of the drought and flood disasters occurred in local areas. Severe and extreme drought disasters were concentrated in the northwestern and northeastern segments, and severe and extreme flood disasters were mainly in the northeastern segment. Drought was most frequent in the northwestern segment, the central part of the northeastern segment, and the northern part of the northern segment. Flood was most frequent in the western part of the northwestern segment, the eastern part of the northeastern segment, and the eastern and western parts of the northern segment. The accurate evaluation of the degrees of drought and flood disasters in the FPENC will provide scientific basis for the regional climate study and critical information on which to base decisions regarding environmental protection and socio-economic development in this region.

Mass balance of saline lakes considering inflow loads of rivers and groundwater: the case of Lake Issyk- Kul, Central Asia
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1260-1273.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0026-0
Abstract ( 7 )   HTML ( 8 )     PDF (1155KB) ( 15 )  

This study aimed to elucidate the influence of inflow water on the salinity concentration process of a saline lake and the mass balance of Lake Issyk-Kul, a tectonic saltwater lake in Kyrgyzstan. Based on the survey results and meteorological data from 2012 to 2015, we analyzed the dissolved chemical composition loads due to water inflow. Then, we discussed the relationship between the increase in salinity and water inflow into the lake. Through the water quality analysis data, we used the tank model to estimate the river inflow and analyze the loads by the L-Q curve. The groundwater loads were then estimated from the average annual increase in salinity of the lake over a period of 30 a. The results suggest that Lake Issyk-Kul was temporarily freshened between about AD 1500 and 1800 when an outflowing river existed, and thereafter, it became a closed lake in AD 1800 and continued to remain a saline lake until present. The chemical components that cause salinization are supplied from the rivers and groundwater in the catchment area, and when they flow into the lake, Ca2+, HCO3- and Mg2+ precipitate as CaCO3 and MgCO3. These compounds were confirmed to have been left on the lakeshore as evaporite. The model analysis showed that 1.67 mg/L of Ca2+ and Mg2+ supplied from rivers and groundwater are precipitated as evaporite and in other forms per year. On the other hand, salinity continues to remain in the lake water at a rate of 27.5 mg/L per year. These are the main causes of increased salinity in Lake Issyk-Kul. Since Na+ and Cl- are considered to be derived from geothermal water, they will continue to flow in regardless of the effects of human activities. Therefore, as long as these components are accumulated in Lake Issyk-Kul as a closed lake, the salinity will continue to increase in the future.

Geography, geology and natural resources in Central Asia (Guest Editorial Board Member:Prof. Dr. XIAO Wenjiao)
Land use/land cover change responses to ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of Tarim River, China
WANG Shanshan, ZHOU Kefa, ZUO Qiting, WANG Jinlin, WANG Wei
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1274-1286.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0089-y
Abstract ( 7 )   HTML ( 13 )     PDF (2193KB) ( 7 )  

The Tarim River is the longest inland river in China and is considered as an important river to protect the oasis economy and environment of the Tarim Basin. However, excessive exploitation and over-utilization of natural resources, particularly water resources, have triggered a series of ecological and environmental problems, such as the reduction in the volume of water in the main river, deterioration of water quality, drying up of downstream rivers, degradation of vegetation, and land desertification. In this study, the land use/land cover change (LUCC) responses to ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of the Tarim River were investigated using ENVI (Environment for Visualizing Images) and GIS (Geographic Information System) data analysis software for the period of 1990-2018. Multi-temporal remote sensing images and ecological water conveyance data from 1990 to 2018 were used. The results indicate that LUCC covered an area of 2644.34 km2 during this period, accounting for 15.79% of the total study area. From 1990 to 2018, wetland, farmland, forestland, and artificial surfaces increased by 533.42 km2 (216.77%), 446.68 km2 (123.66%), 284.55 km2 (5.67%), and 57.51 km2 (217.96%), respectively, whereas areas covered by grassland and other land use/land cover types, such as Gobi, bare soil, and deserts, decreased by 103.34 km2 (14.31%) and 1218.83 km2 (11.75%), respectively. Vegetation area decreased first and then increased, with the order of 2010<2000<1990<2018. LUCC in the overflow and stagnant areas in the lower reaches of the Tarim River was mainly characterized by fragmentation, irregularity, and complexity. By analyzing the LUCC responses to 19 rounds of ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of the Tarim River from 2000 to the end of 2018, we proposed guidelines for the rational development and utilization of water and soil resources and formulation of strategies for the sustainable development of the lower reaches of the Tarim River. This study provides scientific guidance for optimal scheduling of water resources in the region.

Estimation of rock Fe content based on hyperspectral indices
WANG Jinlin, WANG Wei, CHENG Yinyi, ZHANG Zhixin, WANG Shanshan, ZHOU Kefa, LI Pingheng
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (12): 1287-1298.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0110-5
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Information on the Fe content of bare rocks is needed for implementing geochemical processes and identifying mines. However, the influence of Fe content on the spectra of bare rocks has not been thoroughly analyzed in previous studies. The Saur Mountain region within the Hoboksar of the Russell Hill depression was selected as the study area. Specifically, we analyzed six hyperspectral indices related to rock Fe content based on laboratory measurements (Dataset I) and field measurements (Dataset II). In situ field measurements were acquired to verify the laboratory measurements. Fe content of the rock samples collected from different fresh and weathered rock surfaces were divided into six levels to reveal the spatial distributions of Fe content of these samples. In addition, we clearly displayed wavelengths with obvious characteristics by analyzing the spectra of these samples. The results of this work indicated that Fe content estimation models based on the fresh rock surface measurements in the laboratory can be applied to in situ field or satellite-based measurements of Fe content of the weathered rock surfaces. It is not the best way to use only the single wavelengths reflectance at all absorption wavelengths or the depth of these absorption features to estimate Fe content. Based on sample data analysis, the comparison with other indices revealed that the performance of the modified normalized difference index is the best indicator for estimating rock Fe content, with R2 values of 0.45 and 0.40 corresponding to datasets I and II, respectively. Hence, the modified normalized difference index (the wavelengths of 2220, 2290, and 2370 nm) identified in this study could contribute considerably to improve the identification accuracy of rock Fe content in the bare rock areas. The method proposed in this study can obviously provide an efficient solution for large-scale rock Fe content measurements in the field.