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20 December 2017, Volume 9 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Orginal Article
Estimation of meteorological drought indices based on AgMERRA precipitation data and station-observed precipitation data
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 797-809.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0070-y
Abstract ( 719 )   HTML ( 209 )     PDF (475KB) ( 6720 )  

Meteorological drought is a natural hazard that can occur under all climatic regimes. Monitoring the drought is a vital and important part of predicting and analyzing drought impacts. Because no single index can represent all facets of meteorological drought, we took a multi-index approach for drought monitoring in this study. We assessed the ability of eight precipitation-based drought indices (SPI (Standardized Precipitation Index), PNI (Percent of Normal Index), DI (Deciles index), EDI (Effective drought index), CZI (China-Z index), MCZI (Modified CZI), RAI (Rainfall Anomaly Index), and ZSI (Z-score Index)) calculated from the station-observed precipitation data and the AgMERRA gridded precipitation data to assess historical drought events during the period 1987-2010 for the Kashafrood Basin of Iran. We also presented the Degree of Dryness Index (DDI) for comparing the intensities of different drought categories in each year of the study period (1987-2010). In general, the correlations among drought indices calculated from the AgMERRA precipitation data were higher than those derived from the station-observed precipitation data. All indices indicated the most severe droughts for the study period occurred in 2001 and 2008. Regardless of data input source, SPI, PNI, and DI were highly inter-correlated (R2=0.99). Furthermore, the higher correlations (R2=0.99) were also found between CZI and MCZI, and between ZSI and RAI. All indices were able to track drought intensity, but EDI and RAI showed higher DDI values compared with the other indices. Based on the strong correlation among drought indices derived from the AgMERRA precipitation data and from the station-observed precipitation data, we suggest that the AgMERRA precipitation data can be accepted to fill the gaps existed in the station-observed precipitation data in future studies in Iran. In addition, if tested by station-observed precipitation data, the AgMERRA precipitation data may be used for the data-lacking areas.

Atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen in a semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia, China
Yibo ZHANG, Wen XU, Zhang WEN, Dandan WANG, Tianxiang HAO, Aohan TANG, Xuejun LIU
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 810-822.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0071-x
Abstract ( 465 )   HTML ( 8 )     PDF (329KB) ( 970 )  

Due to increasing global demand for crop production and energy use, more and more reactive nitrogen (Nr) has been generated and emitted to the environment. As a result, global atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has tripled since the industrial revolution and the ecological environment and human health have been harmed. In this study, we measured dry and wet/bulk N deposition from July 2013 to December 2015 in a semi-arid grassland of Duolun County, Inner Mongolia, China. The samples of dry and wet/bulk N deposition were collected monthly with a DELTA (DEnuder for Long Term Atmospheric sampling) system and with Gradko passive samplers and a precipitation gauge. The measured results show that the annual mean concentrations of NH3, NO2, HNO3, particulate NH4+ (pNH4+) and particulate NO3- (pNO3-) in atmosphere were 2.33, 1.90, 0.18, 1.42 and 0.42 μg N/m3, respectively, and that the annual mean volume-weighted concentrations of NH4+-N and NO3--N in precipitation were 2.71 and 1.99 mg N/L, respectively. The concentrations of Nr components (including NH3, NO2, HNO3, pNH4+, pNO3-, NH4+-N and NO3--N) exhibited different seasonal variations. Specifically, NO2 and HNO3 exhibited higher concentrations in autumn than in summer, while the other Nr components (NH3, pNH4+, pNO3-, NH4+-N and NO3--N) showed the highest values in summer. Based on measured concentrations of Nr components and their deposition velocities estimated using the GEOS-Chem global atmospheric chemical transport model, the calculated annual mean dry deposition fluxes were 3.17, 1.13, 0.63, 0.91 and 0.36 kg N/(hm2?a) for NH3, NO2, HNO3, pNH4+ and pNO3-, respectively, and the calculated annual mean wet/bulk deposition fluxes were 5.37 and 3.15 kg N/(hm2?a) for NH4+-N and NO3--N, respectively. The estimated annual N deposition (including dry N deposition and wet/bulk N deposition) reached 14.7 kg N/(hm2?a) in grassland of Duolun County, approaching to the upper limit of the N critical load (10-15 kg N/(hm2?a)). Dry and wet/bulk deposition fluxes of all Nr components (with an exception of HNO3) showed similar seasonal variations with the maximum deposition flux in summer and the minimum in winter. Reduced Nr components (e.g., gaseous NH3 and pNH4+ in atmosphere and NH4+-N in precipitation) dominated the total N deposition at the sampling site (accounted for 64% of the total N deposition), suggesting that the deposited atmospheric Nr mainly originated from agricultural activities. Considering the projected future increases in crop and livestock production in Inner Mongolia, the ecological and human risks to the negative effects of increased N deposition could be increased if no mitigation measures are taken.

Water-use efficiency in response to simulated increasing precipitation in a temperate desert ecosystem, of Xinjiang, China
Gang HUANG, Yan LI, Xiaohan MU, Hongmei ZHAO, Yanfeng CAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 823-836.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0021-7
Abstract ( 504 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (576KB) ( 926 )  

Water-use efficiency (WUE) is a key plant functional trait that plays a central role in the global cycles of water and carbon. Although increasing precipitation may cause vegetation changes, few studies have explored the linkage between alteration in vegetation and WUE. Here, we analyzed the responses of leaf WUE, ecosystem carbon and water exchanges, ecosystem WUE, and plant community composition changes under normal conditions and also under extra 15% or 30% increases in annual precipitation in a temperate desert ecosystem of Xinjiang, China. We found that leaf WUE and ecosystem WUE showed inconsistent responses to increasing precipitation. Leaf WUE consistently decreased as precipitation increased. By contrast, the responses of the ecosystem WUE to increasing precipitation are different in different precipitation regimes: increasing by 33.9% in the wet year (i.e., the normal precipitation years) and decreasing by 4.1% in the dry year when the precipitation was about 30% less than that in the wet year. We systematically assessed the herbaceous community dynamics, community composition, and vegetation coverage to explain the responses of ecosystem WUE, and found that the between-year discrepancy in ecosystem WUE was consistent with the extent to which plant biomass was stimulated by the increase in precipitation. Although there was no change in the relative significance of ephemerals in the plant community, its greater overall plant biomass drove an increased ecosystem WUE under the conditions of increasing precipitation in 2011. However, the slight increase in plant biomass exerted no significant effect on ecosystem WUE in 2012. Our findings suggest that an alteration in the dominant species in this plant community can induce a shift in the carbon- and water-based economics of desert ecosystems.

Sand mining disturbances and their effects on the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a riparian forest of Iran
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 837-849.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0028-0
Abstract ( 534 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (398KB) ( 978 )  

The major objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of sand mining disturbances on the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). In addition, the proportional changes in the diversity of AMF to the distances from riverbanks were assessed. For this purpose, the riparian forest of the Maroon River, Iran was divided into three locations with a 200-meter wide zone in between. Thus, the locations studied were named Distance I (riverbank), Distance II (intermediate), and Distance III (farthest from riverbank). In each of these distances, 10 Tamarix arceuthoides and Populus euphratica of each species were randomly selected. At the same time, soil and root samples were collected from the rhizosphere of the tree species studied. Results indicated that totally 13 AMF species were observed in T. arceuthoides and 19 AMF species were recorded in P. euphratica rhizosphere belonging to 6 genera and 6 families. In these AMF species, Glomus segmentatum, G. geosporum, G. rubiforme, G. nanolumen, G. spinuliferum, Claroideoglomus drummondii, Gigaspora gigantea and Acaulospora paulinae appeared only in P. euphratica rhizosphere, while G. multiforum and Claroideoglomus claroideum were observed only in T. arceuthoides rhizosphere. Moreover, Distance II had the least AMF species both in T. arceuthoides and in P. euphratica rhizospheres, and also the least spore density and root colonization rate. Our results are important in that they provide a list of resistant AMF species that could be used in the conservation of biodiversity.

Spatial-temporal variations in near-surface soil freeze-thaw cycles in the source region of the Yellow River during the period 2002-2011 based on the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) data
Rui WANG, Qingke ZHU, Hao MA, Ning AI
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 850-864.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0032-4
Abstract ( 362 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (665KB) ( 774 )  

Detecting near-surface soil freeze-thaw cycles in high-altitude cold regions is important for understanding the Earth’s surface system, but such studies are rare. In this study, we detected the spatial-temporal variations in near-surface soil freeze-thaw cycles in the source region of the Yellow River (SRYR) during the period 2002-2011 based on data from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E). Moreover, the trends of onset dates and durations of the soil freeze-thaw cycles under different stages were also analyzed. Results showed that the thresholds of daytime and nighttime brightness temperatures of the freeze-thaw algorithm for the SRYR were 257.59 and 261.28 K, respectively. At the spatial scale, the daily frozen surface (DFS) area and the daily surface freeze-thaw cycle surface (DFTS) area decreased by 0.08% and 0.25%, respectively, and the daily thawed surface (DTS) area increased by 0.36%. At the temporal scale, the dates of the onset of thawing and complete thawing advanced by 3.10 (±1.4) and 2.46 (±1.4) days, respectively; and the dates of the onset of freezing and complete freezing were delayed by 0.9 (±1.4) and 1.6 (±1.1) days, respectively. The duration of thawing increased by 0.72 (±0.21) day/a and the duration of freezing decreased by 0.52 (±0.26) day/a. In conclusion, increases in the annual minimum temperature and winter air temperature are the main factors for the advanced thawing and delayed freezing and for the increase in the duration of thawing and the decrease in the duration of freezing in the SRYR.

An experimental study of salt expansion in sodium saline soils under transient conditions
Xusheng WAN, Zhemin YOU, Haiyan WEN, CROSSLEY William
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 865-878.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0029-z
Abstract ( 551 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (502KB) ( 1075 )  

Salt expansion in sulfate saline soils that are widely distributed in northwestern China causes serious infrastructural damages under low-temperature conditions. However, the mechanism of salt expansion under low temperatures is not clear. In this study, we conducted a series of cooling experiments combined with salt crystallization to study this mechanism, and employed an ionic model to calculate the supersaturation ratio of the solution. During the experiments, the strength and the process of salt expansion were examined under different cooling rates and various crystal morphologies. The relationship between temperature and supersaturation ratio under transient conditions was also considered. Results indicate that the initial supersaturation ratio of a sodium sulfate solution is closely related to environmental conditions, and that this ratio decreases with slowing the cooling rates and stabilizing the crystal forms. Higher initial supersaturation ratios lead to an increased non-steady-state zone, resulting in less salt expansion. On the other hand, chloride ion content has a distinct influence on the crystallization supersaturation ratio of the sodium sulfate solution, and higher chloride ion content can inhibit salt expansion in sodium saline soils. These findings help explain salt expansion mechanisms in complex conditions such as seasonally frozen soils, and thus help search for improved methods of preventing salt expansion in sulfate saline soils.

Impact of land use/cover changes on carbon storage in a river valley in arid areas of Northwest China
Yuhai YANG, Weihong LI, Chenggang ZHU, Yang WANG, Xiang HUANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 879-887.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0106-3
Abstract ( 668 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (443KB) ( 836 )  

Soil carbon pools could become a CO2 source or sink, depending on the directions of land use/cover changes. A slight change of soil carbon will inevitably affect the atmospheric CO2 concentration and consequently the climate. Based on the data from 127 soil sample sites, 48 vegetation survey plots, and Landsat TM images, we analyzed the land use/cover changes, estimated soil organic carbon (SOC) storage and vegetation carbon storage of grassland, and discussed the impact of grassland changes on carbon storage during 2000 to 2013 in the Ili River Valley of Northwest China. The results indicate that the areal extents of forestland, shrubland, moderate-coverage grassland (MCG), and the waterbody (including glaciers) decreased while the areal extents of high-coverage grassland (HCG), low-coverage grassland (LCG), residential and industrial land, and cultivated land increased. The grassland SOC density in 0-100 cm depth varied with the coverage in a descending order of HCG>MCG>LCG. The regional grassland SOC storage in the depth of 0-100 cm in 2013 increased by 0.25×1011 kg compared with that in 2000. The regional vegetation carbon storage (Srvc) of grassland was 5.27×109 kg in 2013 and decreased by 15.7% compared to that in 2000. The vegetation carbon reserves of the under-ground parts of vegetation (Sruvb) in 2013 was 0.68×109 kg and increased by approximately 19.01% compared to that in 2000. This research can improve our understanding about the impact of land use/cover changes on the carbon storage in arid areas of Northwest China.

Wind tunnel test on the effect of metal net fences on sand flux in a Gobi Desert, China
Tao WANG, Jianjun QU, Yuquan LING, Shengbo XIE, Jianhua XIAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 888-899.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0068-5
Abstract ( 764 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (782KB) ( 1027 )  

The Lanzhou-Xinjiang High-speed Railway runs through an expansive windy area in a Gobi Desert, and sand-blocking fences were built to protect the railway from destruction by wind-blown sand. However, the shielding effect of the sand-blocking fence is below the expectation. In this study, effects of metal net fences with porosities of 0.5 and 0.7 were tested in a wind tunnel to determine the effectiveness of the employed two kinds of fences in reducing wind velocity and restraining wind-blown sand. Specifically, the horizontal wind velocities and sediment flux densities above the gravel surface were measured under different free-stream wind velocities for the following conditions: no fence at all, single fence with a porosity of 0.5, single fence with a porosity of 0.7, double fences with a porosity of 0.5, and double fences with a porosity of 0.7. Experimental results showed that the horizontal wind velocity was more significantly decreased by the fence with a porosity of 0.5, especially for the double fences. The horizontal wind velocity decreased approximately 65% at a distance of 3.25 m (i.e., 13H, where H denotes the fence height) downwind the double fences, and no reverse flow or vortex was observed on the leeward side. The sediment flux density decreased exponentially with height above the gravel surface downwind in all tested fences. The reduction percentage of total sediment flux density was higher for the fence with a porosity of 0.5 than for the fence with a porosity of 0.7, especially for the double fences. Furthermore, the decreasing percentage of total sediment flux density decreased with increasing free-stream wind velocity. The results suggest that compared with metal net fence with a porosity of 0.7, the metal net fence with a porosity of 0.5 is more effective for controlling wind-blown sand in the expansive windy area where the Lanzhou-Xinjiang High-speed Railway runs through.

Multi-decadal variations in glacier flow velocity and the influencing factors of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China
Puyu WANG, Zhongqin LI, Chunhai XU, Wucheng XING, Ping ZHOU, Hui ZHANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 900-910.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0067-6
Abstract ( 528 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (806KB) ( 919 )  

Urumqi Glacier No. 1 is a representative glacier in the inland areas of Central Asia and is the only Chinese reference glacier in the World Glacier Monitoring Service. In this study, we explored multi-decadal variations in the flow velocity of the glacier and the influencing factors based on continuous field observations and path coefficient analysis. Results show that the glacier flow velocity decreased from 5.5 m/a in 1980/1981 to 3.3 m/a in 2010/2011. The annual variation in the direction of glacier flow velocity in the western branch and eastern branch was less than 1°-3°, and the change of glacier flow velocity in the western branch was more dramatic than that in the eastern branch. Glacier flow velocity was influenced by glacier morphology (including glacier area, glacier length, and ice thickness), glacier mass balance and local climate conditions (air temperature and precipitation), the glacier morphology being the leading factor. The long-term flow velocity data set of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 contributes to a better understanding of glacier dynamics within the context of climatic warming.

Chemical characteristics of precipitation and the indicative significance for sand dust events in the northern and southern slopes of Wushaoling Mountain, northwestern China
Zongjie LI, Fei LIU, Yong SONG, Lingling SONG, Qing TIAN, Bing JIA, Yongge LI, Jinzhu MA
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 911-923.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0069-4
Abstract ( 585 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (511KB) ( 1081 )  

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.

Precipitation changes in the mid-latitudes of the Chinese mainland during 1960-2014
Yuling HU, Shigong WANG, Xuping SONG, Jiaxin WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 924-937.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0105-4
Abstract ( 650 )   HTML ( 2 )     PDF (680KB) ( 982 )  

Based on daily precipitation data from 163 meteorological stations, this study investigated precipitation changes in the mid-latitudes of the Chinese mainland (MCM) during 1960-2014 using the climatic trend coefficient, least-squared regression analysis, and a non-parametric Mann-Kendall test. According to the effects of the East Asian summer monsoon on the MCM and the climatic trend coefficient of annual precipitation during 1960-2014, we divided the MCM into the western MCM and eastern MCM. The western MCM was further divided into the western MCM1 and western MCM2 in terms of the effects of the East Asian summer monsoon. The main results were as follows: (1) During the last four decades of the 20th century, the area-averaged annual precipitation presented a significant increasing trend in the western MCM, but there was a slight decreasing trend in the eastern MCM, where a seesaw pattern was apparent. However, in the 21st century, the area-averaged annual precipitation displayed a significant increasing trend in both the western and eastern MCM. (2) The trend in area-averaged seasonal precipitation during 1960-2014 in the western MCM was consistent with that in the eastern MCM in winter and spring. However, the trend in area-averaged summer precipitation during 1960-2014 displayed a seesaw pattern between the western and eastern MCM. (3) On an annual basis, both the trend in rainstorms and heavy rain displayed a seesaw pattern between the western and eastern MCM. (4) The precipitation intensity in rainstorms, heavy rain, and moderate rain made a greater contribution to changes in the total precipitation than precipitation frequency. The results of this study will improve our understanding of the trends and differences in precipitation changes in different areas of the MCM. This is not only useful for the management and mitigation of flood disasters, but is also beneficial to the protection of water resources across the MCM.

Meteorological impacts on evapotranspiration in different climatic zones of Pakistan
ADNAN Shahzada, ULLAH Kalim, H KHAN Azmat, Shouting GAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 938-952.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0107-2
Abstract ( 710 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (575KB) ( 1087 )  

Arid regions are highly vulnerable and sensitive to drought. The crops cultivated in arid zones are at high risk due to the high evapotranspiration and water demands. This study analyzed the changes in seasonal and annual evapotranspiration (ET) during 1951-2016 at 50 meteorological stations located in the extremely arid, arid, and semi-arid zones of Pakistan using the Penman Monteith (PM) method. The results show that ET is highly sensitive and positively correlated to temperature, solar radiation, and wind speed whereas vapor pressure is negatively correlated to ET. The study also identifies the relationship of ET with the meteorological parameters in different climatic zones of Pakistan. The significant trend analysis of precipitation and temperature (maximum and minimum) are conducted at 95% confidence level to determine the behaviors of these parameters in the extremely arid, arid, and semi-arid zones. The mean annual precipitation and annual mean maximum temperature significantly increased by 0.828 mm/a and 0.014°C/a in the arid and extremely arid zones, respectively. The annual mean minimum temperature increased by 0.017°C/a in the extremely arid zone and 0.019°C/a in the arid zone, whereas a significant decrease of 0.007°C/a was observed in the semi-arid zone. This study provides probabilistic future scenarios that would be helpful for policy-makers, agriculturists to plan effective irrigation measures towards the sustainable development in Pakistan.

Erratum to: A new ecological control method for Pisha sandstone based on hydrophilic polyurethane
Zhishui LIANG, Zhiren WU, NOORI Mohammad, Caiqian YANG, Wenyi YAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2017, 9 (6): 953-953.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0101-0
Abstract ( 403 )   HTML ( 4 )     PDF (101KB) ( 850 )