Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Microclimate and CO2 fluxes on continuous fine days in the Xihu desert wetland, China


The Xihu desert wetland is located in an extremely arid area in Dunhuang, Gansu province of Northwest China. The area is home to an unusual geographic and ecological environment that is considered unique, both in China and the world. Microclimate is not only related to topography, but is also affected by the physical properties of underlying ground surfaces. Microclimate and CO2 flux have different characteristics under different underlying surface conditions. However, until now, few studies have investigated the microclimate characteristics and CO2 flux in this area. The eddy covariance technique (ECT) is a widely used and effective method for studying such factors in different ecosystems. Basing on data from continuous fine days obtained in the Dunhuang Xihu desert wetland between September 2012 and September 2013, this paper discussed and compared the characteristics of daily microclimate variations and CO2 fluxes between the two periods. Results from both years showed that there was a level of turbulent mixing and updraft in the area, and that the turbulent momentum flux was controlled by wind shear under good weather conditions. The horizontal wind velocity, friction wind velocity and vertical wind velocity were commendably consistent with each other. Air temperature in the surface layer followed an initial decreasing trend, followed by an increasing then decreasing trend under similar net radiation conditions. With changes in air temperature, the soil temperature in the surface layer follows a more obvious sinusoidal fluctuation than that in the subsoil. Components of ground surface radiation during the two study periods showed typical diurnal variations. The maximum diurnal absorption of CO2 occurred at around 11:00 (Beijing time) in the Xihu desert wetland, and the concentrations of CO2 in both periods gradually decreased with time. This area was therefore considered to act as a carbon sink during the two observation periods.


eddy covariance; microclimate characteristics; CO2 flux; extremely arid region; desert wetland; Dunhuang

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