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Yaohui Li, Xing Yuan, Hongsheng Zhang, Runyuan Wang, Chenghai Wang, Xianhong Meng, Zhiqiang Zhang, Shanshan Wang, Yang Yang, Bo Han, Kai Zhang, Xiaoping Wang, Hong Zhao, Guangsheng Zhou, Qiang Zhang, Qing He, Ni Guo, Wei Hou, Cunjie Zhang, Guoju Xiao, Xuying Sun, Ping Yue, Sha Sha, Heling Wang, Tiejun Zhang, Jinsong Wang, and Yubi Yao

Abstract

A major experimental drought research project entitled “Mechanisms and Early Warning of Drought Disasters over Northern China” (DroughtEX_China) was launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China in 2015. The objective of DroughtEX_China is to investigate drought disaster mechanisms and provide early-warning information via multisource observations and multiscale modeling. Since the implementation of DroughtEX_China, a comprehensive V-shape in situ observation network has been established to integrate different observational experiment systems for different landscapes, including crops in northern China. In this article, we introduce the experimental area, observational network configuration, ground- and air-based observing/testing facilities, implementation scheme, and data management procedures and sharing policy. The preliminary observational and numerical experimental results show that the following are important processes for understanding and modeling drought disasters over arid and semiarid regions: 1) the soil water vapor–heat interactions that affect surface soil moisture variability, 2) the effect of intermittent turbulence on boundary layer energy exchange, 3) the drought–albedo feedback, and 4) the transition from stomatal to nonstomatal control of plant photosynthesis with increasing drought severity. A prototype of a drought monitoring and forecasting system developed from coupled hydroclimate prediction models and an integrated multisource drought information platform is also briefly introduced. DroughtEX_China lasted for four years (i.e., 2015–18) and its implementation now provides regional drought monitoring and forecasting, risk assessment information, and a multisource data-sharing platform for drought adaptation over northern China, contributing to the global drought information system (GDIS).

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