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1. chinaXiv:202107.00025 [pdf]

Adaptability of machine learning methods and hydrological models to discharge simulations in data-sparse glaciated watersheds

JI Huiping; CHEN Yaning; FANG Gonghuan; LI Zhi; DUAN Weili; ZHANG Qifei
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

The accurate simulation and prediction of runoff in alpine glaciated watersheds is of increasing importance for the comprehensive management and utilization of water resources. In this study, long short-term memory (LSTM), a state-of-the-art artificial neural network algorithm, is applied to simulate the daily discharge of two data-sparse glaciated watersheds in the Tianshan Mountains in Central Asia. Two other classic machine learning methods, namely extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost) and support vector regression (SVR), along with a distributed hydrological model (Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and an extended SWAT model (SWAT_Glacier) are also employed for comparison. This paper aims to provide an efficient and reliable method for simulating discharge in glaciated alpine regions that have insufficient observed meteorological data. The two typical basins in this study are the main tributaries (the Kumaric and Toxkan rivers) of the Aksu River in the south Tianshan Mountains, which are dominated by snow and glacier meltwater and precipitation. Our comparative analysis indicates that simulations from the LSTM shows the best agreement with the observations. The performance metrics Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NS) and correlation coefficient (R2) of LSTM are higher than 0.90 in both the training and testing periods in the Kumaric River Basin, and NS and R2 are also higher than 0.70 in the Toxkan River Basin. Compared to classic machine learning algorithms, LSTM shows significant advantages over most evaluating indices. XGBoost also has high NS value in the training period, but is prone to overfitting the discharge. Compared with the widely used hydrological models, LSTM has advantages in predicting accuracy, despite having fewer data inputs. Moreover, LSTM only requires meteorological data rather than physical characteristics of underlying data. As an extension of SWAT, the SWAT_Glacier model shows good adaptability in discharge simulation, outperforming the original SWAT model, but at the cost of increasing the complexity of the model. Compared with the oftentimes complex semi-distributed physical hydrological models, the LSTM method not only eliminates the tedious calibration process of hydrological parameters, but also significantly reduces the calculation time and costs. Overall, LSTM shows immense promise in dealing with scarce meteorological data in glaciated catchments.

submitted time 2021-07-23 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits106Downloads54 Comment 0

2. chinaXiv:202106.00011 [pdf]

Monitoring fire regimes and assessing their driving factors in Central Asia

YIN Hanmin; Jiapaer GULI; JIANG Liangliang; YU Tao; Jeanine UMUHOZA; LI Xu
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

Relatively little is known about fire regimes in grassland and cropland in Central Asia. In this study, eleven variables of fire regimes were measured from 2001 to 2019 by utilizing the burned area and active fire product, which was obtained and processed from the GEE (Google Earth Engine) platform, to describe the incidence, inter-annual variability, peak month and size of fire in four land cover types (forest, grassland, cropland and bare land). Then all variables were clustered to define clusters of fire regimes with unique fire attributes using the K-means algorithm. Results showed that Kazakhstan (KAZ) was the most affected by fire in Central Asia. Fire regimes in cropland in KAZ had the frequent, large and intense characters, which covered large burned areas and had a long duration. Fires in grassland mainly occurred in central KAZ and had the small scale and high-intensity characters with different quarterly frequencies. Fires in forest were mainly distributed in northern KAZ and eastern KAZ. Although fires in grassland underwent a shift from more to less frequent from 2001 to 2019 in Central Asia, vigilance is needed because most fires in grassland occur suddenly and cause harm to humans and livestock.

submitted time 2021-06-04 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits4246Downloads455 Comment 0

3. chinaXiv:202105.00010 [pdf]

Characteristics and hazards of different snow avalanche types in a continental snow climate region in the Central Tianshan Mountains

HAO Jiansheng; Richard MIND'JE; LIU Yang; HUANG Farong; ZHOU Hao; LI Lanhai
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

Snow avalanches are a common natural hazard in many countries with seasonally snow-covered mountains. The avalanche hazard varies with snow avalanche type in different snow climate regions and at different times. The ability to understand the characteristics of avalanche activity and hazards of different snow avalanche types is a prerequisite for improving avalanche disaster management in the mid-altitude region of the Central Tianshan Mountains. In this study, we collected data related to avalanche, snowpack, and meteorology during four snow seasons (from 2015 to 2019), and analysed the characteristics and hazards of different types of avalanches. The snow climate of the mid-altitude region of the Central Tianshan Mountains was examined using a snow climate classification scheme, and the results showed that the mountain range has a continental snow climate. To quantify the hazards of different types of avalanches and describe their situation over time in the continental snow climate region, this study used the avalanche hazard degree to assess the hazards of four types of avalanches, i.e., full-depth dry snow avalanches, full-depth wet snow avalanches, surface-layer dry snow avalanches, and surface-layer wet snow avalanches. The results indicated that surface-layer dry snow avalanches were characterized by large sizes and high release frequencies, which made them having the highest avalanche hazard degree in the Central Tianshan Mountains with a continental snow climate. The overall avalanche hazard showed a single peak pattern over time during the snow season, and the greatest hazard occurred in the second half of February when the snowpack was deep and the temperature increased. This study can help the disaster and emergency management departments rationally arrange avalanche relief resources and develop avalanche prevention strategies.

submitted time 2021-04-30 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits2279Downloads267 Comment 0

4. chinaXiv:202104.00094 [pdf]

Snowpack shifts cyanobacterial community in biological soil crusts

ZHANG, Bingchang; ZHANG, Yongqing; ZHOU, Xiaobing; LI, Xiangzhen; ZHANG, Yuanming
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

Winter snowpack is an important source of moisture that influences the development of biological soil crusts (BSCs) in desert ecosystems. Cyanobacteria are important photosynthetic organisms in BSCs. However, the responses of the cyanobacterial community in BSCs to snowpack, snow depth and melting snow are still unknown. In this study, we investigated the cyanobacterial community composition and diversity in BSCs under different snow treatments (doubled snow, ambient snow and removed snow) and three snow stages (stage 1, snowpack; stage 2, melting snow; and stage 3, melted snow) in the Gurbantunggut Desert in China. In stages 1 and 2, Cyanobacteria were the dominant phylum in the bacterial community in the removed snow treatment, whereas Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were abundant in the bacterial communities in the ambient snow and doubled snow treatments. The relative abundances of Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes increased with increasing snow depth. The relative abundances of Cyanobacteria and other bacterial taxa were affected mainly by soil temperature and irradiance. In stages 2 and 3, the relative abundance of Cyanobacteria increased quickly due to the suitable soil moisture and irradiance conditions. Oscillatoriales, Chroococcales, Nostocales, Synechococcales and unclassified Cyanobacteria were detected in all the snow treatments, and the most dominant taxa were Oscillatoriales and Chroococcales. Various cyanobacterial taxa showed different responses to snowpack. Soil moisture and irradiance were the two critical factors shaping the cyanobacterial community structure. The snowpack depth and duration altered the soil surface irradiance, soil moisture and other soil properties, which consequently were selected for different cyanobacterial communities. Thus, local microenvironmental filtering (niche selection) caused by snow conditions may be a dominant process driving shifts in the cyanobacterial community in BSCs.

submitted time 2021-04-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits2178Downloads263 Comment 0

5. chinaXiv:202101.00071 [pdf]

Damage by wind-blown sand and its control measures along the Taklimakan Desert Highway in China

LI Congjuan; WANG Yongdong; LEI Jiaqiang; XU Xinwen; WANG Shijie; FAN Jinglong; LI Shengyu
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

Desertification is one of the most serious environmental problems in the world, especially in the arid desert regions. Combating desertification, therefore, is an urgent task on a regional or even global scale. The Taklimakan Desert in China is the second largest mobile desert in the world and has been called the ''Dead Sea'' due to few organisms can exist in such a harsh environment. The Taklimakan Desert Highway, the longest desert highway (a total length of 446 km) across the mobile desert in the world, was built in the 1990s within the Taklimakan Desert. It has an important strategic significance regarding oil and gas resources exploration and plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of southern Xinjiang, China. However, wind-blow sand seriously damages the smoothness of the desert highway and, in this case, mechanical sand control system (including sand barrier fences and straw checkerboards) was used early in the life of the desert highway to protect the road. Unfortunately, more than 70% of the sand barrier fences and straw checkerboards have lost their functions, and the desert highway has often been buried and frequently blocked since 1999. To solve this problem, a long artificial shelterbelt with the length of 437 km was built along the desert highway since 2000. However, some potential problems still exist for the sustainable development of the desert highway, such as water shortage, strong sandstorms, extreme environmental characteristics and large maintenance costs. The study aims to provide an overview of the damages caused by wind-blown sand and the effects of sand control measures along the Taklimakan Desert Highway. Ultimately, we provide some suggestions for the biological sand control system to ensure the sustainable development of the Taklimakan Desert Highway, such as screening drought-resistant species to reduce the irrigation requirement and ensure the sound development of groundwater, screening halophytes to restore vegetation in the case of soil salinization, and planting cash crops, such as Cistanche, Wolfberry, Apocynum and other cash crops to decrease the high cost of maintenance on highways and shelterbelts.

submitted time 2021-01-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits1063Downloads529 Comment 0

6. chinaXiv:202101.00072 [pdf]

How precipitation and grazing influence the ecological functions of drought-prone grasslands on the northern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains, China?

HUANG Xiaotao; LUO Geping; CHEN Chunbo; PENG Jian; ZHANG Chujie; ZHOU Huakun; YAO Buqing; MA Zhen; XI Xiaoyan
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

Drought-prone grasslands provide a critical resource for the millions of people who are dependent on livestock for food security. However, this ecosystem is potentially vulnerable to climate change (e.g., precipitation) and human activity (e.g., grazing). Despite this, the influences of precipitation and grazing on ecological functions of drought-prone grasslands in the Tianshan Mountains remain relatively unexplored. Therefore, we conducted a systematic field investigation and a clipping experiment (simulating different intensities of grazing) in a drought-prone grassland on the northern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains in China to examine the influences of precipitation and grazing on aboveground biomass (AGB), soil volumetric water content (SVWC), and precipitation use efficiency (PUE) during the period of 2014–2017. We obtained the meteorological and SVWC data using an HL20 Bowen ratio system and a PR2 soil profile hydrometer, respectively. We found that AGB was clearly affected by both the amount and seasonal pattern of precipitation, and that PUE may be relatively low in years with either low or excessive precipitation. The PUE values were generally higher in the rapid growing season (April–July) than in the entire growing season (April–October). Overall, moderate grazing can promote plant growth under water stress conditions. The SVWC value was higher in the clipped plots than in the unclipped plots in the rapid growing season (April–July), but it was lower in the clipped plots than in the unclipped plots in the slow growing season (August–October). Our findings can enhance the understanding of the ecological effects of precipitation and grazing in drought-prone grasslands and provide data that will support the effective local grassland management.

submitted time 2021-01-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits1008Downloads585 Comment 0

7. chinaXiv:202101.00073 [pdf]

Transformation of vegetative cover on the Ustyurt Plateau of Central Asia as a consequence of the Aral Sea shrinkage

Adilov BEKZOD; Shomurodov HABIBULLO; FAN Lianlian; LI Kaihui; MA Xuexi; LI Yaoming
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

The gradual shrinkage of the Aral Sea has led to not only the degradation of the unique environments of the Aral Sea, but also numerous and fast developing succession processes in the neighborhood habitats surrounding the sea. In this study, we investigated the vegetative succession processes related to the Aral Sea shrinkage in the Eastern Cliff of the Ustyurt Plateau in Republic of Uzbekistan, Central Asia. We compared the results of our current investigation (2010–2017) on vegetative communities with the geobotany data collected during the 1970s (1970–1980). The results showed great changes in the mesophytic plant communities and habitat aridization as a result of the drop in the underground water level, which decreased atmospheric humidity and increased the salt content of the soil caused by the shrinkage of the Aral Sea. In the vegetative communities, we observed a decrease in the Margalef index (DMg), which had a positive correlation with the poly-dominance index (I-D). The main indications of the plant communities' transformation were the loss of the weak species, the appearance of new communities with low species diversity, the stabilization of the projective cover of former resistant communities, as well as the appearance of a new competitive species, which occupy new habitats.

submitted time 2021-01-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits966Downloads575 Comment 0

8. chinaXiv:202101.00074 [pdf]

Long-term variations in runoff of the Syr Darya River Basin under climate change and human activities

Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

In this study, we analyzed the hydrological and meteorological data from the Syr Darya River Basin during the period of 1930–2015 to investigate variations in river runoff and the impacts of climate change and human activities on river runoff. The Syr Darya River, which is supplied by snow and glacier meltwater upstream, is an important freshwater source for Central Asia, as nearly half of the population is concentrated in this area. River runoff in this arid region is sensitive to climate change and human activities. Therefore, estimation of the climatic and hydrological changes and the quantification of the impacts of climate change and human activities on river runoff are of great concern and important for regional water resources management. The long-term trends of hydrological time series from the selected 11 hydrological stations in the Syr Darya River Basin were examined by non-parametric methods, including the Pettitt change point test and Mann-Kendall trend tests. It was found that 8 out of 11 hydrological stations showed significant downward trends in river runoff. Change of river runoff variations occurred in the year around 1960. Moreover, during the study period (1930–2015), annual mean temperature, annual precipitation, and annual potential evapotranspiration in the river basin increased substantially. We employed hydrological sensitivity method to evaluate the impacts of climate change and human activities on river runoff based on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. It was estimated that human activities accounted for over 82.6%–98.7% of the reduction in river runoff, mainly owing to water withdrawal for irrigation purpose. The observed variations in river runoff can subsequently lead to adverse ecological consequences from an ecological and regional water resources management perspective.

submitted time 2021-01-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits782Downloads438 Comment 0

9. chinaXiv:202101.00076 [pdf]

Investigation of crop evapotranspiration and irrigation water requirement in the lower Amu Darya River Basin, Central Asia

Durdiev KHAYDAR; CHEN Xi; HUANG Yue; Makhmudov ILKHOM; LIU Tie; Ochege FRIDAY; Abdullaev FARKHOD; Gafforov KHUSEN; Omarakunova GULKAIYR
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

High water consumption and inefficient irrigation management in the agriculture sector of the middle and lower reaches of the Amu Darya River Basin (ADRB) have significantly influenced the gradual shrinking of the Aral Sea and its ecosystem. In this study, we investigated the crop water consumption in the growing seasons and the irrigation water requirement for different crop types in the lower ADRB during 2004–2017. We applied the FAO Penman–Monteith method to estimate reference evapotranspiration (ET0) based on daily climatic data collected from four meteorological stations. Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) of specific crop types was calculated by the crop coefficient. Then, we analyzed the net irrigation requirement (NIR) based on the effective precipitation with crop water requirements. The results indicated that the lowest monthly ET0 values in the lower ADRB were found in December (18.2 mm) and January (16.0 mm), and the highest monthly ET0 values were found in June and July, with similar values of 211.6 mm. The annual ETc reached to 887.2, 1002.1, and 492.0 mm for cotton, rice, and wheat, respectively. The average regional NIR ranged from 514.9 to 715.0 mm in the 10 Irrigation System Management Organizations (UISs) in the study area, while the total required irrigation volume for the whole region ranged from 4.2×109 to 11.6×109 m3 during 2004–2017. The percentages of NIR in SIW (surface irrigation water) ranged from 46.4% to 65.2% during the study period, with the exceptions of the drought years of 2008 and 2011, in which there was a significantly less runoff in the Amu Darya River. This study provides an overview for local water authorities to achieve optimal regional water allocation in the study area.

submitted time 2021-01-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits832Downloads483 Comment 0

10. chinaXiv:202011.00131 [pdf]

Can climate change influence agricultural GTFP in arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China?

FENG,Jian; ZHAO,Lingdi; ZHANG,Yibo; SUN,Lingxiao; YU,Xiang; YU,Yang
Subjects: Geosciences >> Geography

There are eight provinces and autonomous regions (Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province, Shanxi Province, and Shaanxi Province) in Northwest China, most areas of which are located in arid and semi-arid regions (northwest of the 400 mm precipitation line), accounting for 58.74% of the country's land area and sustaining approximately 7.84×106 people. Because of drought conditions and fragile ecology, these regions cannot develop agriculture at the expense of the environment. Given the challenges of global warming, the green total factor productivity (GTFP), taking CO2 emissions as an undesirable output, is an effective index for measuring the sustainability of agricultural development. Agricultural GTFP can be influenced by both internal production factors (labor force, machinery, land, agricultural plastic film, diesel, pesticide, and fertilizer) and external climate factors (temperature, precipitation, and sunshine duration). In this study, we used the Super-slacks-based measure (Super-SBM) model to measure agricultural GTFP during the period 2000–2016 at the regional level. Our results show that the average agricultural GTFP of most provinces and autonomous regions in arid and semi-arid regions underwent a fluctuating increase during the study period (2000–2016), and the fluctuation was caused by the production factors (input and output factors). To improve agricultural GTFP, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Gansu should reduce agricultural labor force input; Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Shanxi should decrease machinery input; Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Shanxi should reduce fertilizer input; Shaanxi, Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia should reduce diesel input; Xinjiang and Gansu should decrease plastic film input; and Gansu, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia should cut pesticide input. Desirable output agricultural earnings should be increased in Qinghai and Tibet, and undesirable output (CO2 emissions) should be reduced in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu, and Shaanxi. Agricultural GTFP is influenced not only by internal production factors but also by external climate factors. To determine the influence of climate factors on GTFP in these provinces and autonomous regions, we used a Geographical Detector (Geodetector) model to analyze the influence of climate factors (temperature, precipitation, and sunshine duration) and identify the relationships between different climate factors and GTFP. We found that temperature played a significant role in the spatial heterogeneity of GTFP among provinces and autonomous regions in arid and semi-arid regions. For Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet, a suitable average annual temperature would be in the range of 7°C–9°C; for Gansu, Shanxi, and Ningxia, it would be 11°C–13°C; and for Shaanxi, it would be 15°C–17°C. Stable climatic conditions and more efficient production are prerequisites for the development of sustainable agriculture. Hence, in the agricultural production process, reducing the redundancy of input factors is the best way to reduce CO2 emissions and to maintain temperatures, thereby improving the agricultural GTFP. The significance of this study is that it explores the impact of both internal production factors and external climatic factors on the development of sustainable agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions, identifying an effective way forward for the arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China.

submitted time 2020-11-25 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits3357Downloads637 Comment 0

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