Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2017, Vol. 9 Issue (6): 911-923    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0069-4
Orginal Article     
Chemical characteristics of precipitation and the indicative significance for sand dust events in the northern and southern slopes of Wushaoling Mountain, northwestern China
Zongjie LI1,*(), Fei LIU1, Yong SONG2, Lingling SONG3, Qing TIAN3, Bing JIA4, Yongge LI4, Jinzhu MA1
1 Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 CSIRO Land and Water, Private Bag 10, Clayton South, VIC 3169, Australia
3 College of Forestry, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
4 Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin Gansu/Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering Research Center, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Download: HTML     PDF(511KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Precipitation chemistry analysis is essential to evaluate the atmospheric environmental quality and identify the sources of atmospheric pollutants. In this study, we collected a total of 480 precipitation samples at 6 sampling sites in the northern and southern slopes of Wushaoling Mountain from May 2013 to July 2014 to analyze the chemical characteristics of precipitation and to identify the main sources of ions in precipitation. Furthermore, we also explored the indicative significance for sand dust events in the northern and southern slopes of Wushaoling Mountain based on the precipitation chemistry analysis. During the sampling period (from May 2013 to July 2014), the pH values, EC (electrical conductivity) values and concentrations of cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+ and NH4+) and anions (SO42-, NO3-, Cl-, NO2- and F-) in precipitation were different in the northern and southern slopes at daily and seasonal time scales, with most of the values being higher in the northern slope than in the southern slope. The chemical type of precipitation in the southern and northern slopes was the same, i.e., SO42--Ca2+-NO3--Na+. The concentrations of ions in precipitation were mainly controlled by terrigenous material and anthropogenic activities (with an exception of Cl-). The concentration of Cl- in precipitation was mainly controlled by the sea salt fraction. The concentrations of Na+ and Cl- showed an increasing trend after the occurrence of sand dust events both in the northern and southern slopes. In addition, after the occurrence of sand dust events, the concentrations of K+, Mg2+, SO42-, NO3- and Ca2+ showed an increasing trend in the southern slope and a decreasing trend in the northern slope. It is our hope that the results may be helpful to further understand the atmospheric pollution caused by sand dust events in the Wushaoling Mountain and can also provide a scientific basis for the effective prevention of atmospheric pollution.

Key wordsprecipitation chemistry      source assessment      sand dust event      Wushaoling Mountain     
Received: 13 October 2016      Published: 20 December 2017
Corresponding Authors: Zongjie LI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Zongjie LI, Fei LIU, Yong SONG, Lingling SONG, Qing TIAN, Bing JIA, Yongge LI, Jinzhu MA. Chemical characteristics of precipitation and the indicative significance for sand dust events in the northern and southern slopes of Wushaoling Mountain, northwestern China. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(6): 911-923.

URL:     OR

[1] Al-Khashman O A.2005. Study of chemical composition in wet atmospheric precipitation in Eshidiya area, Jordan. Atmospheric Environment, 39(33): 6175-6183.
[2] Eneroth K, Holmén K, Berg T, et al.2007. Springtime depletion of tropospheric ozone, gaseous elemental mercury and non-methane hydrocarbons in the European Arctic, and its relation to atmospheric transport. Atmospheric Environment, 41(38): 8511-8526.
[3] Guo X Y, Feng Q, Liu W, et al.2015. Stable isotopic and geochemical identification of groundwater evolution and recharge sources in the arid Shule River Basin of Northwestern China. Hydrological Processes, 29(22): 4703-4718.
[4] Itahashi S, Uno I, Hayami H, et al.2014. Modeling investigation of controlling factors in the increasing ratio of nitrate to non-sea salt sulfate in precipitation over Japan. Atmospheric Environment, 92: 171-177.
[5] Keene W C, Pszenny A A P, Galloway J N, et al.1986. Sea-salt corrections and interpretation of constituent ratios in marine precipitation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 91(D6): 6647-6658.
[6] Laouali D, Galy-Lacaux C, Diop B, et al.2012. Long term monitoring of the chemical composition of precipitation and wet deposition fluxes over three Sahelian savannas. Atmospheric Environment, 50: 314-327.
[7] Li X M, Li L H, Guo L P, et al.2011. Impact of climate factors on runoff in the Kaidu River watershed: path analysis of 50-year data. Journal of Arid Land, 3(2): 132-140.
[8] Li Y, Morrill C.2015. A Holocene East Asian winter monsoon record at the southern edge of the Gobi Desert and its comparison with a transient simulation. Climate Dynamics, 45(5-6): 1219-1234.
[9] Li Z J, Li Z X, Wang T T, et al.2015. Composition of wet deposition in the central Qilian Mountains, China. Environmental Earth Sciences, 73(11): 7315-7328.
[10] Li Z J, Song L L, Tian Q.2016. Analysis of precipitation characteristics and water vapor sources in the East of Hexi Corridor. Environmental Chemistry, 35(4): 721-732. (in Chinese)
[11] Li Z J, Song L L, Tian Q, et al.2017a. Characteristics and sources of atmospheric composition based on precipitation chemistry in the Shiyang River Basin, Northwestern China. Arabian Journal of Geosciences, 10(2): 1379.
[12] Li Z J, Song L L, Chen F C, et al.2017b. The indicative significance of sand-dust weather and chemical change of precipitation in the inland arid area: a case of Minle County. Environmental Chemistry, 36(2): 373-379. (in Chinese)
[13] Li Z X, He Y Q, Pang H X, et al.2009. Chemistry of snow deposited during the summer monsoon and in the winter season at Baishui glacier No.1, Yulong Mountain, China. Journal of Glaciology, 55(190): 221-228.
[14] Li Z X, He Y Q, Wang P Y, et al.2012. Changes of daily climate extremes in southwestern China during 1961-2008. Global and Planetary Change, 80-81: 255-272.
[15] Li Z X, Feng Q, Liu W, et al.2014. Study on the contribution of cryosphere to runoff in the cold alpine basin: A case study of Hulugou River Basin in the Qilian Mountains. Global and Planetary Change, 122: 345-361.
[16] Li Z X, Feng Q, Guo X Y, et al.2015. The evolution and environmental significance of glaciochemistry during the ablation period in the north of Tibetan Plateau, China. Quaternary International, 374: 93-109.
[17] Li Z X, Feng Q, Wang Q J, et al.2016. Contribution from frozen soil meltwater to runoff in an in-land river basin under water scarcity by isotopic tracing in northwestern China. Global and Planetary Change, 136: 41-51.
[18] Ma J Z, Zhang P, Zhu G F, et al.2012. The composition and distribution of chemicals and isotopes in precipitation in the Shiyang River system, northwestern China. Journal of Hydrology, 436-437: 92-101.
[19] Ma J Z, Chen L H, He J H, et al.2013. Trends and periodicities in observed temperature, precipitation and runoff in a desert catchment: case study for the Shiyang River Basin in Northwestern China. Water and Environment Journal, 27(1): 86-98.
[20] Mahlknecht J, Steinich B, De León I N.2004. Groundwater chemistry and mass transfers in the Independence aquifer, central Mexico, by using multivariate statistics and mass-balance models. Environmental Geology, 45(6): 781-795.
[21] Okay C, Akkoyunlu B O, Tayanc M.2002. Composition of wet deposition in Kaynarca, Turkey. Environmental Pollution, 118(3): 401-410.
[22] Ren L H, Chen J H, Bai Z P, et al.2012. Ionic composition and source analysis of precipitation at Wuzhi Mountain in Hainan Province and Wuyi Mountain in Fujian Province. Research of Environmental Sciences, 25(4): 404-410. (in Chinese)
[23] Shrestha A B, Wake C P, Dibb J E, et al.2002. Aerosol and precipitation chemistry at a remote Himalayan site in Nepal. Aerosol Science and Technology, 36(4): 441-456.
[24] Taylor S R.1964. Abundance of chemical elements in the continental crust: a new table. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 28(8): 1273-1285.
[25] Vet R, Artz R S, Carou S, et al.2014. A global assessment of precipitation chemistry and deposition of sulfur, nitrogen, sea salt, base cations, organic acids, acidity and pH, and phosphorus. Atmospheric Environment, 93: 3-100.
[26] Xiao H, Shen Z L, Huang M Y.1993. Chemical characteristics of tropical Western Pacific precipitation. Acta Scientiae Circumstantiae, 13(2): 143-149. (in Chinese)
[27] Xu Z F, Li Y S, Tang Y, et al.2009. Chemical and strontium isotope characterization of rainwater at an urban site in Loess Plateau, Northwest China. Atmospheric Research, 94(3): 481-490.
[28] Yang X L, Ding W K, Guo L M.2010. Analysis on the basic characteristics of precipitation in the East Hexi Corridor. Arid Zone Research, 27(5): 663-668. (in Chinese)
[29] Yang X L, Ding W K, Yuan J M, et al.2012. Climate characteristics of the gale and its forecast in East Hexi Corridor. Transactions of Atmospheric Science, 35(1): 121-127. (in Chinese)
[30] Zhang D D, Peart M, Jim C Y, et al.2003a. Precipitation chemistry of Lhasa and other remote towns, Tibet. Atmospheric Environment, 37(2): 231-240.
[31] Zhang D D, Jim C Y, Peart M R, et al.2003b. Rapid changes of precipitation pH in Qinghai Province, the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Science of the Total Environment, 305(1-3): 241-248.
[32] Zhu G F, Su Y H, Huang C L, et al.2010. Hydrogeochemical processes in the groundwater environment of Heihe River Basin, northwest China. Environmental Earth Sciences, 60(1): 139-153.
No related articles found!