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07 September 2011, Volume 3 Issue 3 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research Articles
Linking water and nutrients through the vadose zone: a fungal interface between the soil and plant systems
Michael F Allen
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 155-163.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00155
Abstract ( 3051 )     PDF (270KB) ( 3656 )  
Plant water availability, use, and management have largely focused on physical processes of infiltration and the role of roots in uptake and transpiration. However, roots and mycorrhizal fungi redistribute water in complex patterns. Here I describe some of our observations and experiments showing that mycorrhizal fungi play key roles in moving water for both transpiration and to facilitate nutrient acquisition under dry conditions. Mycorrhizal fungal hyphae grow from both surface and deep roots even into bedrock to help extract water under dry conditions. In both deep and surface roots, mycorrhizal fungi acquire water from pores too small for roots and root hairs to access, and at distances from roots and root hairs. Mycorrhizal fungi are also able to utilize hydraulic-lifted water from plants to obtain nutrients in extremely dry surface soils. The importance of these root symbionts in water and nutrient dynamics, and as integrators of surface and deeper water dynamics need further investigation.
Two-way coupling of unsaturated-saturated flow by integrating the SWAT and MODFLOW models with application in an irrigation district in arid region of West China
Yi LUO, Marios SOPHOCLEOUS
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 164-173.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00164
Abstract ( 3735 )     PDF (340KB) ( 3827 )  
This paper presents the realization of two-way coupling of the unsaturated-saturated flow interactions of the SWAT2000 and MODFLOW96 models on the basis of the integrated surface/groundwater model SWATMOD99, and its application in Hetao Irrigation District (HID), Inner Mongolia, China. Major revisions and enhancements were made to the SWAT2000 and MODFLOW models for simulating the detailed hydrologic budget and coupled unsaturated and saturated interactions, and irrigation canal hydrology for the HID. The simulation results of seasonal groundwater recharge to and evaporate from the shallow groundwater, and the annual water budget over the district are presented and discussed. The results implied the necessity of two-way coupling of the unsaturated-saturated interactions when groundwater is shallow, and the feasibility of making comprehensive use of the information coming from both the surface water and groundwater models to make a more physically-based assessment of the coupled interactions.
Mitigating the catastrophic impacts of torrential rivers in semi-arid environments: a case of the Gash River in eastern Sudan
Samir Mohammad Ali Alredaisy
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 174-183.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00174
Abstract ( 3237 )     PDF (402KB) ( 3340 )  
The climatic, geomorphic, hydrologic and aquifer characteristics of the torrential Gash River across mountainous areas, in far eastern Sudan, were analyzed in order to mitigate its recurring catastrophic impacts. Hydrologic and climatic data and interpretation of Gash River satellite images were from relevant research works carried out in Gash Basin from 1985 to 2008. The results indicated that the total catchment area of Gash River is about 21,000 km2, and the basin area is 31,000 km2. The total length of Gash River is 450 km and the average slope is 200 cm/km. The width of the catchment varies from 30 m to 90 m and that of the basin is from 100 m to 800 m, and the course of the river is varied. During the period of 1980-2008, the mean annual rainfall was 250 mm and the mean annual discharge was 6.8 × 108 m3, and the flooding is approximately one time per 5 years. Torrential floods measured at Kassala town since 1907 showed that an absolute maximum discharge was 876 m3/s and a mean maximum discharge was 365 m3/s. These characteristics differ widely between catchment and basin areas. The author proposes that, by analyzing the climatic, geomorphic, hydrologic and aquifer characteristics of the Gash River and considering the role of community, a concise database could be provided to formulate the aquifer, geomorphic, hydrologic and climatic (AQUIGEOHYCLIM) regional approach to mitigate Gash River recurring catastrophic impacts.
Magnetostratigraphy and provenance of the Qingzhou loess in Shandong province
ShuZhen PENG, LiJun ZHU, GuoQiao XIAO, YanSong QIAO, ZhiDong GAO, DongDong CHEN
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 184-190.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00184
Abstract ( 2290 )     PDF (383KB) ( 2439 )  
Loess deposits with varying thickness are widely distributed on the intermontane valleys and piedmont zones on the northern side of the central Shandong mountainous regions. However, the basal ages and material resources of the loess deposits are not clear. The paper studied the Qingzhou loess profile in Shandong with magnetostratigraphic and optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) methods and further investigated its main provenances with the mineralogical methods. The magnetostratigraphic results showed that the Brunhes/Matuyama (B/M) reversal boundary was not recognized, suggesting a basal age younger than 0.78 Ma. Extrapolations by sedimentation rates, based on the upper part depositional rate from the OSL age, the basal age of the Qingzhou loess is about 0.5 Ma. Until now, older loess deposits have not been reported on the northern side of the central Shandong mountainous regions. The results of the paper indicate that the loess deposits in this area might have strated from the Middle Pleistocene. The basal age of Qingzhou loess is approximately synchronous with the Xiashu loess in the middle-lower reaches of Yangtze River. Major components of clay minerals in the Qingzhou profile are dominated by illite. Other clay mineral compositions are mainly smectite, chlorite and kaolinite, which are similar with the Xifeng loess in the Loess Plateau. However, the contents of smectite and the ratios of illite and kaolinte in the Qingzhou loess samples are higher than those in the Xifeng loess samples of the Loess Plateau, indicating that the loess in the northern side of the central Shandong mountainous regions has different sources from that of the loess deposits in the Loess Plateau. The clay mineral analysis further reinforces the earlier conclusion that the marine strata exposed in the Laizhou Bay and the fluvial plain of the lower reaches of Yellow River during the glacier periods are the main material sources for the Qingzhou loess deposits, which is an indicator to the local aridification of the lower reaches of the Yellow River. Loess deposition in the central Shandong mountainous regions started at around 0.5 Ma. The age of Qingzhou loess is approximately synchronous with the ongoing high-latitude cold since the Middle Pleistocene, which indicates that strengthened East Asian winter monsoon was sufficiently energetic to bring substantial quantities of material from the marine strata exposed in the Laizhou Bay and the fluvial plain of the lower reaches of the Yellow River to the central Shandong mountainous regions. The results therefore suggest that both regional geological process and global changes were responsible for the formation of Qingzhou loess since Middle Pleistocene.
Magnetic property of loess strata recorded by Kansu profile in Tianshan Mountains
Jia JIA, XianBin LIU, DunSheng XIA, HaiTao WEI, Bo WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 191-198.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00191
Abstract ( 3016 )     PDF (406KB) ( 2776 )  
Kansu (KS) profile is located in the east of Yili basin, western Xinjiang, where typical loess sediments are distributed. The magnetic parameters (such as IRM, SIRM SOFT, and M) and grain size in the KS profile were analyzed in the study. The results showed that the magnetic property of KS loess is dominated by ferrimagnetic minerals, such as magnetite and maghemite. Antiferromagnetic and superparamagnetic minerals also exist in the profile, but had less impact on magnetic susceptibility. Compared with the typical loess sediments of the central Loess Plateau in China, the strata of Kansu profile contained more magnetic minerals and hard magnetic minerals. The analysis of grain size for magnetic minerals indicated that the properties of loess and paleosol were respectively dominated by PSD/MD and coarse SSD magnetite. The research found that the contents of magnetic minerals in loess and paleosol sequences in Kansu profile were similar, but the proportion of fine grained magnetite and soft magnetic minerals were varying, which implies a positive relationship between the value of magnetic susceptibility and intensity of pedogenesis.
Sand flux estimation during a sand-dust storm at Tazhong area of Taklimakan Desert, China
XingHua YANG, XiaoLiang XU, Qing HE, Ali Mamtimin, Bo YU, ShiHao TANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 199-205.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00199
Abstract ( 3550 )     PDF (323KB) ( 2593 )  
In this paper, the sand transport during a sand-dust storm in the Tazhong area of the central Taklimakan Desert from 11:29 to 23:56 on July 19, 2008 was observed and measured in real time. The sand flux at Tazhong was estimated using sand transport empirical formulas. The critical friction velocity at Tazhong was 0.24 m/s and the functional relation between the wind speed and sediment discharge at the height of 2 m was established. It was also found that the calculated values by Lettau's sediment discharge formula were close to those of the instrument measurements. The horizontal sand flux and the vertical sand flux during this sand-dust storm at Tazhong were respectively 258.67×10-4 kg/(m·s) and 40.07×10-7 kg/(m2·s).
Tolerance to Zn deficiency and P-Zn interaction in wheat seedlings cultured in chelator-buffered solutions
WenXuan MAI, XiaoHong TIAN, Willam Jeffery GALE, XiWen YANG, XinChun LU
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 206-213.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00206
Abstract ( 3027 )     PDF (280KB) ( 2972 )  
Zinc deficiency is a common constraint for wheat production in the regions with limited precipitation, particularly in the regions with high levels of available phosphate (P) in soil. Two experiments were conducted using chelator-buffered nutrient solutions to characterize differences in tolerance to Zn deficiency among three winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes and to investigate the relationship between P and Zn nutrition in wheat species. Four indices, Zn efficiency, relative shoot-to-root ratio, total Zn uptake in shoot, and shoot dry weight were used to compare the tolerance to Zn deficiency among three wheat genotypes. The results indicated that the four indices could be used in breeding selection for Zn uptake-efficient genotypes. The genotype H6712 was the most tolerant to Zn deficient, followed by M19, and then X13. Specifically, H6712 had the highest Zn uptake efficiency among the three genotypes. The addition of P to the growth medium increased Zn uptake and translocation from roots to shoots. Total Zn content of the wheat plant was 43% higher with 0.6 mmol/L P treatment than that of control with 0 mmol /L P treatment. The Zn translocation ratios from roots to shoots were increased by 16% and 26% with 0.6 mmol/L P treatment and 3 mmol/L P treatment, respectively, compared with 0 mmol/L P treatment. In contrast, high Zn concentrations in the growth medium inhibited P translocation from roots to shoots, but the inhibitive effects were not strong. Sixty-six percent of P taken up by wheat plants was translocated to the wheat shoots at 0 μmol/L Zn treatment, while the percent was 60% at 3 μmol/L Zn treatment. The result may be due to the fact that the wheat plants need more P than Zn.
Temperature and precipitation trends in Minqin Desert during the period of 1961-2007
ShuJuan ZHU, ZhaoFeng CHANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 214-219.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00214
Abstract ( 2828 )     PDF (316KB) ( 2555 )  
This paper analyzed the data of temperature and precipitation in Minqin, typical desert area in northwest China, during the period of 1961-2007 by linear regression. The result indicated that the increasing rate of the mean annual temperature in Minqin was higher than that of the average of China; and the temperature in February increased by 3.01oC averagely in the past 47 years. The climate in Minqin displayed an evident warming trend. However, there was no evidently increasing trend of precipitation in the past 47 years, and drought occurred during the whole growing season.
Impacts of temperature and precipitation on runoff in the Tarim River during the past 50 years
YuTing FAN, YaNing CHEN, WeiHong LI, HuaiJun WANG, XinGong LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2011, 3 (3): 220-230.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00220
Abstract ( 3957 )     PDF (537KB) ( 4096 )  
The relationship between climate change and water resources in?the Tarim River was analyzed by combining the temperature, precipitation and streamflow data from 1957 to 2007 from the four headstreams of the Tarim River (Aksu, Hotan,?Yarkant and Kaidu rivers) in the study area. The long-term trend of the hydrological?time series including temperature, precipitation and streamflow were studied using correlation analysis and partial correlations analysis. Holt double exponential smoothing was used to fit the trends between streamflow and the two climatic factors of Aksu River, Hotan River and Yarkant River. The streamflow of the main stream was forecasted by Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average Model (ARIMA) modeling by the method of time series analysis. The results show that the temperature experienced a trend of monotonic rising. The precipitation and runoff of the four headstreams of the Tarim River increased, while the inflow to the headstreams increased and the inflow into the Tarim River decreased. Changes of temperature and precipitation had a significant impact on runoff into the four headstreams of the Tarim River: the precipitation had a positive impact on water flow in the Aksu River, Hotan River and Kaidu River, while the temperature had a positive impact on water flow in the Yarkant River. The results of Holt double exponential smoothing showed that the correlation between the independent variable and dependent variable was relatively close after the model was fitted to the headstreams, of which only the runoff and temperature values of Hotan River showed a significant negative?correlation. The forecasts by the ARIMA model for 50 years of annual runoff at the Allar station followed the pattern of the measured data for the same years. The short-term forecasts beyond the observed series adequately captured the pattern in the data and showed a decreasing tendency in the Tarim River flow of 3.07% every ten years. The results showed that global warming accelerated the water recharge process of the headstreams. The special hydrological characteristics of the arid area determined the significant association between streamflow and the two climatic factors studied. Strong glacier retreat is likely to bring a series of flood disasters within the study area.