Journal of Arid Land


Soil moisture is an important parameter for the interaction between soil and atmosphere. It is the second important factor that influences climate change, next to sea surface temperature (SST). Most previous studies focused on the monsoon regions in East China, and only a few laid emphases on arid environments. In Xinjiang, which is located in Northwest China, the climate is typically arid and semi-arid. During the past 20 years, the precipitation in Xinjiang has shown a significant increasing trend, and it is closely related to oasis irrigation. This paper aims at discussing whether abnormal soil moisture in spring can be the signal to forecast summer precipitation. The effects of abnormal soil moisture due to farm irrigation in spring in arid environments on regional climate are investigated by using a regional climate model (RegCM3). The results indicate that positive soil moisture anomaly in irrigated cropland surface in May led to an increase in precipitation in spring as well as across the whole summer. The impact could last for about four months. The effects of soil moisture on the surface air temperature showed a time-lagging trend. The summer air temperature declined by a maximum amplitude of 0.8ºC. The increased soil moisture could enhance evaporation and ascending motion in the low troposphere, which brought in more precipitation. The soil moisture affected regional weather and climate mainly by altering the surface sensible and latent heat fluxes.


irrigation; abnormal soil moisture; weather and climate effects; precipitation; arid region; Xinjiang

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