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10 April 2015, Volume 7 Issue 2 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Brief Communication
Spatial distribution of δ2H and δ18O values in the hydrologic cycle of the Nile Basin
Jeff B LANGMAN
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 133-145.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0078-5
Abstract ( 1624 )     PDF (545KB) ( 2624 )  
Existing δ2H and δ18O values for precipitation and surface water in the Nile Basin were used to analyze precipitation inputs and the influence of evaporation on the isotopic signal of the Nile River and its tributaries. The goal of the data analysis was to better understand basin processes that influence seasonal streamflow for the source waters of the Nile River, because climate and hydrologic models have continued to produce high uncertainty in the prediction of precipitation and streamflow in the Nile Basin. An evaluation of differences in precipitation δ2H and δ18O values through linear regression and distribution analysis indicate variation by region and season in the isotopic signal of precipitation across the Nile Basin. The White Nile Basin receives precipitation with a more depleted isotopic signal compared to the Blue Nile Basin. The hot temperatures of the Sahelian spring produce a greater evaporation signal in the precipitation isotope distribution compared to precipitation in the Sahara/Mediterranean region, which can be influenced by storms moving in from the Mediterranean Sea. The larger evaporative effect is reversed for the two regions in summer because of the cooling of the Sahel from inflow of Indian Ocean monsoon moisture that predominantly influences the climate of the Blue Nile Basin. The regional precipitation isotopic signals convey to each region’s streamflow, which is further modified by additional evaporation according to the local climate. Isotope ratios for White Nile streamflow are significantly altered by evaporation in the Sudd, but this isotopic signal is minimized for streamflow in the Nile River during the winter, spring and summer seasons because of the flow dominance of the Blue Nile. During fall, the contribution from the White Nile may exceed that of the Blue Nile, and the heavier isotopic signal of the White Nile becomes apparent. The variation in climatic conditions of the Nile River Basin provides a means of identifying mechanistic processes through changes in isotope ratios of hydrogen and oxygen, which have utility for separating precipitation origin and the effect of evaporation during seasonal periods. The existing isotope record for precipitation and streamflow in the Nile Basin can be used to evaluate predicted streamflow in the Nile River from a changing climate that is expected to induce further changes in precipitation patterns across the Nile Basin.
Characterizing regional precipitation-driven lake area change in Mongolia
Sinkyu KANG, Gyoungbin LEE, Chuluun TOGTOKH, Keunchang JANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 146-158.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0081-x
Abstract ( 1661 )     PDF (366KB) ( 2010 )  
Lake area is an important indicator for climate change and its relationship with climatic factors is critical for understanding the mechanisms that control lake level changes. In this study, lake area changes and their relations to precipitation were investigated using multi-temporal Landsat Thermatic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thermatic Mapper plus (ETM+) images collected from 10 different regions of Mongolia since the late 1980s. A linear-regression analysis was applied to examine the relationship between precipitation and lake area change for each region and across different regions of Mongolia. The relationships were interpreted in terms of re-gional climate regime and hydromorphological characteristics. A total of 165 lakes with areas greater than 10 hm2 were identified from the Landsat images, which were aggregated for each region to estimate the regional lake area. Temporal lake area variability was larger in the Gobi regions, where small lakes are densely dis-tributed. The regression analyses indicated that the regional patterns of precipitation-driven lake area changes varied considerably (R2=0.028–0.950), depending on regional climate regime and hydromorphological char-acteristics. Generally, the lake area change in the hot-and-dry Gobi regions showed higher correlations with precipitation change. The precedent two-month precipitation was the best determining factor of lake area change across Mongolia. Our results indicate the usefulness of regression analysis based on satellite-derived multi-temporal lake area data to identify regions where factors other than precipitation might play important roles in determining lake area change.
Research Articles
Five decades of glacier changes in the Hulugou Basin of central Qilian Mountains, Northwest China
Hui CHEN, ZhongQin LI, PuYu WANG, ZhongPing LAI, RenSheng CHEN, BaoJuan HUAI
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 159-165.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0011-y
Abstract ( 2375 )     PDF (190KB) ( 1968 )  
The Heihe River Basin is the second largest inland river basin in the arid regions of Northwest China. Glaciers account for a large proportion of water resources for production and people's living. Studies of glacier changes and their impact on water resources in the arid lands are of vital importance. A joint expedition was carried out in 2010 for investigating glaciers in the Hulugou Basin, which is located in the upper reaches of Heihe River. Therefore, glacier changes in the Hulugou Basin of central Qilian Mountains during the past 50 years were studied in this study by comparing topographic maps, satellite images, digital elevation models and field observation data in the different periods. Results showed that the total area of the 6 glaciers in the Hulugou Basin decreased by 0.590±0.005 km2 during the period 1956–2011, corresponding to a loss of 40.7% of the total area in 1956. The average area reduction rate of the 6 glaciers is 0.011 km2/a. During the past five decades, the glacier shrinkage was accelerated. The changes in glacier ice surface elevation ranged from –15 to 3 m with an average thinning of 10±8 m or an annual decrease of 0.23±0.18 m (0.20±0.15 m/a water equivalent) for the period 1956–2000. The area of Shiyi Glacier in the Hulugou Basin decreased from 0.64 km2 in 1956 to 0.53 km2 in 2011 with a reduction rate of 17.2%. The Shiyi Glacier had been divided into two separated glaciers because of severe melting. Com-parative analysis showed that glacier shrinkage in the Hulugou Basin is more serious than that in the other regions of Qilian Mountains.
Brief Communication
A general multi-objective programming model for minimum ecological flow or water level of inland water bodies
SongHao SHANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 166-176.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0077-6
Abstract ( 1691 )     PDF (292KB) ( 2221 )  
Assessment of ecological flow or water level for water bodies is important for the protection of degraded or degrading ecosystems caused by water shortage in arid regions, and it has become a key issue in water resources planning. In the past several decades, many methods have been proposed to assess ecological flow for rivers and ecological water level for lakes or wetlands. To balance water uses by human and eco-systems, we proposed a general multi-objective programming model to determine minimum ecological flow or water level for inland water bodies, where two objectives are water index for human and habitat index for ecosystems, respectively. Using the weighted sum method for multi-objective optimization, minimum eco-logical flow or water level can be determined from the breakpoint in the water index–habitat index curve, which is similar to the slope method to determine minimum ecological flow from wetted perimeter–discharge curve. However, the general multi-objective programming model is superior to the slope method in its physical meaning and calculation method. This model provides a general analysis method for ecological water uses of different inland water bodies, and can be used to define minimum ecological flow or water level by choosing appropriate water and habitat indices. Several commonly used flow or water level assessment methods were found to be special cases of the general model, including the wetted perimeter method and the multi-objective physical habitat simulation method for ecological river flow, the inundated forest width method for regenera-tion flow of floodplain forest and the lake surface area method for ecological lake level. These methods were applied to determine minimum ecological flow or water level for two representative rivers and a lake in northern Xinjiang of China, including minimum ecological flow for the Ertix River, minimum regeneration flow for floodplain forest along the midstream of Kaxgar River, and minimum ecological lake level for the Ebinur Lake. The results illustrated the versatility of the general model, and can provide references for water resources planning and ecosystem protection for these rivers and lake.
Research Articles
Assessment of wetland fragmentation in the middle reaches of the Heihe River by the type change tracker model
RuiFeng ZHAO, ZuoLun XIE, LiHua ZHANG, Wen ZHU, Jie LI, Dan LIANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 177-188.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0047-z
Abstract ( 1545 )     PDF (400KB) ( 1887 )  
The quantitative research of wetland landscape fragmentation in the middle reaches of the Heihe River is important for the protection of the wetland and oasis sustainable development in the Hexi Corridor. Based on the data of remote sensing and GIS, we constructed the type change tracker model with sliding window technique and spatially morphological rule. The suitable scale and optimum scale of the fragmentation model of wetland landscape in the middle reaches of the Heihe River was determined by the area frequency statistics method, Chi-square distribution normalized scale variance, fractal dimension and diversity index. By integrating type change tracker model and the optimum scale with GIS spatial analysis, the spatial distribution characteristics of wetland landscape fragmentation in different periods and spatial-temporal change process were clarified. The results showed that (1) the type change tracker model, analyzing the spatial pattern of wetland fragmentation on the pixel level, is better than the traditional wetland fragmentation analysis on the landscape and patch level; (2) The suitable scale for the wetland fragmentation ranged from 150 m×150 m to 450 m×450 m and the optimum scale was 250 m×250 m in the middle reaches of the Heihe River; and (3) In the past 35 years, the total wetland area decreased 23.2% and the fragmentation of wetland markedly increased in the middle reaches of the Heihe River. The areas of core wetlands reduced 12.8% and the areas of perforated, edge and patch wetlands increased 0.8%, 3.1% and 8.9%, respectively. The process of wetland fragmentation in the research region showed the order of core wetland, perforated or edge wetland, patch wetland or non-wetland. The results of this study would provide a reference for the protection, utilization and restoration of limited wetland resources and for sustainable development of regional eco-environment in the Heihe River Basin.
Effects of warming and clipping on plant and soil properties of an alpine meadow in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China
ManHou XU, Fei PENG, QuanGang YOU, Jian GUO, XiaFei TIAN, Min LIU, Xian XUE
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 189-204.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0010-z
Abstract ( 1745 )     PDF (457KB) ( 2068 )  
Climate warming and livestock grazing are known to have great influences on alpine ecosystems like those of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) in China. However, it is lacking of studies on the effects of warming and grazing on plant and soil properties in these alpine ecosystems. In this study, we reported the related research from manipulative experiment in 2010–2012 in the QTP. The aim of this study was to investigate the individual and com-bined effects of warming and clipping on plant and soil properties in the alpine meadow ecosystem. Infrared radia-tors were used to simulate climate warming starting in July 2010, while clipping was performed once in October 2011 to simulate the local livestock grazing. The experiment was designed as a randomized block consisting of five replications and four treatments: control (CK), warming (W), clipping (C) and warming+clipping combination (WC). The plant and soil properties were investigated in the growing season of the alpine meadow in 2012. The results showed that W and WC treatments significantly decreased relative humidity at 20-cm height above ground as well as significantly increases air temperature at the same height, surface temperature, and soil temperature at the depth of 0–30 cm. However, the C treatment did not significantly decrease soil moisture and soil temperature at the depth of 0–60 cm. Relative to CK, vegetation height and species number increased significantly in W and WC treatment, respectively, while vegetation aboveground biomass decreased significantly in C treatment in the early growing season. However, vegetation cover, species diversity, belowground biomass and soil properties at the depth of 0–30 cm did not differ significantly in W, C and WC treatments. Soil moisture increased at the depth of 40–100 cm in W and WC treatments, while belowground biomass, soil activated carbon, organic carbon and total nitrogen increased in the 30–50 cm soil layer in W, C and WC treatments. Although the initial responses of plant and soil properties to experimental warming and clipping were slow and weak, the drought induced by the down-ward shift of soil moisture in the upper soil layers may induce plant belowground biomass to transfer to the deeper soil layers. This movement would modify the distributions of soil activated carbon, organic carbon and total nitrogen. However, long-term data collection is needed to further explain this interesting phenomenon.
Topographic differentiations of biological soil crusts and hydraulic properties in fixed sand dunes, Tengger Desert
ZhiShan ZHANG, YongLe CHEN, BinXing XU, Lei HUANG, HuiJuan TAN, XueJun DONG
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 205-215.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0048-y
Abstract ( 1734 )     PDF (273KB) ( 1859 )  
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) play an important role in surface soil hydrology. Soils dominated with moss BSCs may have higher infiltration rates than those dominated with cyanobacteria or algal BSCs. However, it is not known whether improved infiltration in moss BSCs is accompanied by an increase in soil hydraulic conductivity or water retention capacity. We investigated this question in the Tengger Desert, where a 43-year-old revegetation program has promoted the formation of two distinct types of BSCs along topographic positions, i.e. the moss-dominated BSCs on the interdune land and windward slope of the fixed sand dunes, and the algal-dominated BSCs on the crest and leeward slopes. Soil water retention capacity and hydraulic conductivity were measured using an indoor evaporation method and a field infiltration method. And the results were fitted to the van Genuchten–Mualem model. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivities under greater pressure (<–0.01 MPa) and water retention capacities in the entire pressure head range were higher for both crust types than for bare sand. However, saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivities in the near-saturation range (>–0.01 MPa) showed decreasing trends from bare sand to moss crusts and to algal crusts. Our data suggested that topographic differentiation of BSCs significantly affected not only soil water retention and hydraulic conductivities, but also the overall hydrology of the fixed sand dunes at a landscape scale, as seen in the reduction and spatial variability in deep soil water storage.
Response of soil nitrogen, phosphorous and organic matter to vegetation succession on the Loess Plateau of China
Man CHENG, ShaoShan AN
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 216-223.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0043-3
Abstract ( 1880 )     PDF (209KB) ( 2102 )  
Revegetation is a traditional practice widely used for soil protection. We evaluated the effect of natural revegetation succession on soil chemical properties and carbon fractions (particulate organic carbon (POC), humus carbon (HS-C), humic acid carbon (HA-C) and fulvic acid carbon (FA-C)) on the Loess Plateau of China. The vegetation types, in order from the shortest to the longest enclosure duration, were: (a) abandoned overgrazed grassland (AbG3; 3 years); (b) Hierochloe odorata Beauv. (HiO7; 7 years); (c) Thymus mongolicus Ronnm (ThM15; 15 years); (d) Artemisia sacrorum Ledeb (AtS25; 25 years); (e) Stipa bungeana Trin Ledeb (StB36; 36 years) and (f) Stipa grandis P. Smirn (StG56; 56 years). The results showed that the concentrations of soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and available phosphorus increased with the increase of restoration time except for ThM15. The concentration of NH4-N increased in the medium stage of vegetation restoration (for ThM15 and AtS25) and decreased in the later stage (for StB36 and StG56). However, NO3-N concentration significantly increased in the later stage (for StB36 and StG56). Carbon fractions had a similar increasing trend during natural vegetation restoration. The concentrations of POC, HS-C, FA-C and HA-C accounted for 24.5%–49.1%, 10.6%–15.2%, 5.8%–9.1% and 4.6%–6.1% of total carbon, respectively. For AbG3, the relative changes of POC, HS-C and FA-C were significantly higher than that of total carbon during the process of revegetation restoration. The higher relative increases in POC, HS-C and FA-C confirmed that soil carbon induced by vegetation restoration was sequestrated by higher physical and chemical protection. The increases of soil C fractions could also result in higher ecology function in semiarid grassland ecosystems.
Brief Communication
Agricultural irrigation requirements under future climate scenarios in China
XiuFang ZHU, AnZhou ZHAO, YiZhan LI, XianFeng LIU
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 224-237.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0080-y
Abstract ( 1910 )     PDF (1014KB) ( 1658 )  
Projecting future water demand, especially in terms of agricultural irrigation demand, as well as identifying high-risk areas and establishing appropriate water demand management has become increasingly important in China. Climate scenarios provide opportunities to predict future irrigation requirements (IRs). We examined changes in IRs and agricultural drought in response to rising greenhouse gas concentrations in China using eight global climate models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. In this research, Northeast China, the North China Plain and the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley area in southeastern Tibet were estimated to receive more precipitation in the future, whereas Southeast and Northwest China, especially the Junggar and Tarim basins in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, will receive less precipitation. IRs will undergo a significant increase in summer (June–August), especially in July, whereas the smallest increase was predicted to occur in autumn (September–November). Middle rice was identified as the greatest contributor to the increase in total IRs. The areas predicted to experience significant increases in IRs include Northwest China (the Tarim and Junggar basins in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Hexi Corridor in Gansu province and the Guanzhong Plain in Shaanxi province), Southeast China (especially Fujian province), and Southwest China (Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley area in Tibet and the Sichuan Basin).
Research Articles
Characteristics of deep drainage and soil water in the mobile sandy lands of Inner Mongolia, northern China
XinPing LIU, YuHui HE, XueYong ZHAO, TongHui ZHANG, LaMei ZHANG, YunHua MA, ShuXia YAO, ShaoKun WANG, ShuiLian WEI
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 238-250.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0095-4
Abstract ( 2080 )     PDF (365KB) ( 1528 )  
Quantification of deep drainage and the response of soil water content to rainfall patterns are critical for an effective management strategy of soil water conservation and groundwater utilization. However, information on how rainfall characteristics influence soil water dynamics and deep drainage in mobile sandy lands are lacking. We used an underground chamber to examine the response of deep drainage and soil water content in mobile sandy lands to rainfall characteristics during the growing season of 2010, 2011 and 2012. Results showed that rainfall in this area was dominated by small events (≤5 mm), which increased soil water content in the surface soil layers (0–40 cm), but did not increase soil water content at the deeper soil layers (greater than 40 cm). Soil water content at the 0–100 cm depth increased significantly when the total amount of rain was >20 mm. Rainfall amount, intensity and the duration of dry intervals were significantly related to the soil water content at different soil layers. Deep drainage was significantly correlated with rainfall amount and intensity, but not with the duration of the dry interval. The coefficients of deep drainage in mobile sandy lands ranged from 61.30% to 67.94% during the growing seasons. Our results suggested that rainfall infiltration in these widespread mobile sandy lands had considerable potential to increase soil water storage while recharging the groundwater in this region.
Effects of climate change on phenology and primary productivity in the desert steppe of Inner Mongolia
Fang HAN, Qing ZHANG, Alexander BUYANTUEV, JianMing NIU, PengTao LIU, XingHua LI, Sarula KANG, Jing ZHANG,ChangMing CHANG, YunPeng LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 251-263.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0042-4
Abstract ( 2484 )     PDF (762KB) ( 2459 )  
Variations in temperature and precipitation affect local ecosystems. Considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity exists in arid ecosystems such as desert steppes. We analyzed the spatiotemporal dynamics of climate and vegetation phenology in the desert steppe of Inner Mongolia, China, using meteorological data from 11 stations (1961–2010) and phenology data from 6 ecological stations (2004–2012). We also estimated the gross primary production for the period of 1982–2009 and found that the annual mean temperature increased at a rate of 0.47ºC/decade during 1961–2010, with the last 10 years being consistently warmer than the 50-year mean. The most significant warming occurred in winters. Annual precipitation slightly decreased during the 50-year period, with summer precipitation experiencing the highest drop in the last 10 years, and spring precipitation, a rise. Spatially, annual precipitation increased significantly in the northeast and eastern central area of the region next to the typical steppe. From 2004 to 2012, vegetation green-up and senescence date advanced in the area, shortening the growing season. Consequently, the primary productivity of the desert steppe decreased along precipitation gradient from southeast to northwest. Temporally, productivity increased during the period of 1982–1999 and significantly decreased after 2000. Overall, the last decade witnessed the most dramatic climatic changes that were likely to negatively affect the desert steppe ecosystem. The decreased primary productivity, in particular, decreases ecosystem resilience and impairs the livelihood of local farmers and herdsmen.
Brief Communication
Genetic structure and historical demography of Malus sieversii in the Yili Valley and the western mountains of the Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, China
HongXiang ZHANG, MingLi ZHANG, LiNa WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 264-271.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0044-2
Abstract ( 1589 )     PDF (328KB) ( 2429 )  
Malus sieversii, a wild progenitor of domesticated apple, is distributed in western Xinjiang of China, eastern part of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. To well understand the genetic structure and the historical demography of this important germplasm resource, we sampled 15 populations with 110 individuals of Malus sieversii from the Yili Valley and the western mountains of the Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, and sequenced two nrDNA fragments for these 110 individuals. Meanwhile, we modeled and compared species distributions under the current and the Last Glacial Maximum climatic conditions. The results showed that populations of M. sieversii from Xinjiang had low levels of genetic diversity and genetic differentiation. During the LGM period, populations of M. sieversii had lost their northern distributions in the western mountains of the Junggar Basin. M. sieversii has experienced a demographic expansion from the south of the Yili Valley to the north of the western mountains of the Junggar Basin during the warm interglacial epochs. Due to the high sensibility of M. sieversii to disturbance, we proposed more attention should be paid to the M. sieversii populations in the western mountains of the Junggar Basin.
Seasonal and inter-annual variations in carbon fluxes and evapotranspiration over cotton field under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in an arid region of Northwest China
Jie BAI, Jin WANG, Xi CHEN, GePing LUO, Hao SHI, LongHui LI, JunLi LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2015, 7 (2): 272-284.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0012-x
Abstract ( 1656 )     PDF (475KB) ( 2104 )  
Xinjiang is the largest semi-arid and arid region in China, and drip irrigation under plastic mulch is widely used in this water-limited area. Quantifying carbon and water fluxes as well as investigating their environmental drivers over cotton fields is critical for understanding regional carbon and water budgets in Xinjiang, the largest cotton production basin of China. In this study, an eddy covariance (EC) technique was used to measure the carbon and water fluxes of cotton field under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in the growing seasons of 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 at Wulanwusu Agrometeorological Experiment Station, a representative oasis cropland in northern Xinjiang. The diurnal patterns of gross primary production (GPP), net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and evapotranspiration (ET) showed obviously sinusoidal variations from June to September, while the diurnal ecosystem respiration (Res) was stable between daytime and nighttime. The daytime hourly GPP and ET dis-played asymptotic relationships with net solar radiation (Rnet), while showed concave patterns with raising vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and air temperature (Ta). The increases in hourly GPP and ET towards the maximum occurred over half ranges of VPD and Ta. The seasonal variations of GPP, NEE and ET were close to the cotton phenology, which almost reached the peak value in July. The cumulative GPP averaged 816.2±55.0 g C/m2 in the growing season (from April to October), and more than half of GPP was partitioned into NEE (mean value of –478.6±41.4 g C/m2). The mean seasonal ET was 501.3±13.9 mm, and the mean water use efficiency (WUE) was 1.0±0.1 (mg C/g H2O)/d. The agro-ecosystem behaved as a carbon sink from squaring to harvest period, while it acted as a carbon source before the squaring time as well as after the harvest time.