Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Oasis cold island effect and its influence on air temperature: a case study of Tarim Basin, Northwest China


Oasis effect can improve the regional climate and habitability of an arid region. In this study, we explored the cold island effects of oases distributed along the edge of Tarim Basin by analyzing the oasis cold island effect (OCIE) intensity, spatial-temporal variation of OCIE, factors influencing the OCIE and impacts of OCIE on air temperature using geographical statistics and GIS methods based on the MODIS land surface temperature, land use/cover change (LUCC) and observed air temperature data. Results showed that all the oases in the Tarim Basin exhibited cold island effects, with the OCIE intensity highest in summer (−9.08°C), followed by autumn (−4.24°C) and spring (−3.85°C). The total area of oasis cold island (OCI) and the comprehensive OCIE index showed the same seasonal change trend as the OCIE intensity. However, the changing trends in areas of OCI with strong, medium and weak OCIEs were inconsistent across different seasons. Farmland and water areas were found to be the key contributors that affected the OCIE, and the area and aggregation metrics of these two land use/cover types directly contributed to the OCIE. By contrast, natural vegetation, such as forest and grassland, almost had no contribution to the OCIE. Simulation of observed air temperature data showed that if farmland is replaced by forest or grassland in the oasis, the mean, maximum and minimum air temperatures will increase significantly. This heating effect will be higher in summer (reaching 1.14°C to 2.08°C) and lower in spring and autumn. Moreover, the heating effect of farmland being replaced by forest will be higher than that of farmland being replaced by grassland. These results can provide a basis for understanding the cold island effect of oases in arid regions.

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