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Yongqiang Zhang, Francis H. S. Chiew, Lu Zhang, and Hongxia Li

Abstract

This paper explores the use of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), mounted on the polar-orbiting Terra satellite, to determine leaf area index (LAI), and use actual evapotranspiration estimated using MODIS LAI data combined with the Penman–Monteith equation [remote sensing evapotranspiration (E RS)] in a lumped conceptual daily rainfall–runoff model. The model is a simplified version of the HYDROLOG (SIMHYD) model, which is used to estimate runoff in ungauged catchments. Two applications were explored: (i) the calibration of SIMHYD against both the observed streamflow and E RS, and (ii) the modification of SIMHYD to use MODIS LAI data directly. Data from 2001 to 2005 from 120 catchments in southeast Australia were used for the study. To assess the modeling results for ungauged catchments, optimized parameter values from the geographically nearest gauged catchment were used to model runoff in the ungauged catchment. The results indicate that the SIMHYD calibration against both the observed streamflow and E RS produced better simulations of daily and monthly runoff in ungauged catchments compared to the SIMHYD calibration against only the observed streamflow data, despite the modeling results being assessed solely against the observed streamflow data. The runoff simulations were even better for the modified SIMHYD model that used the MODIS LAI directly. It is likely that the use of other remotely sensed data (such as soil moisture) and smarter modification of rainfall–runoff models to use remotely sensed data directly can further improve the prediction of runoff in ungauged catchments.

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Li Liu, Renhe Zhang, and Zhiyan Zuo

Abstract

As important parameters in the land–atmosphere system, both soil moisture (SM) and vegetation play a significant role in land–atmosphere interactions. Using observational data from clay and sand stations over central eastern China, the relationship between leaf area index (LAI) and SM (LAI–SM) in different types of soil was investigated. The results show that the LAI–SM correlation is significantly positive in clay but not significant in sand. The physical causes for the discrepant LAI–SM correlations in different types of soil were explored from the perspectives of evapotranspiration (ET) and soil water retention. In clay stations, increasing LAI is associated with greater soil-water-retention capacity. Although the increasing LAI corresponds to increasing ET, the impact of ET on SM is weak because of the small particle size of soil. Consequently, the LAI–SM relationship in clay is significantly positive. In sand stations, ET is negatively correlated with SM owing to the large soil particle size, resulting in a negative LAI–SM correlation in sand. However, soil water retention is weakened by the increased LAI, which may be an important factor causing the insignificant LAI–SM correlation in sand.

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Guoyu Ren, Hongbin Liu, Ziying Chu, Li Zhang, Xiang Li, Weijing Li, Yu Chen, Ge Gao, and Yan Zhang

Abstract

Middle and eastern routes of the South–North Water Diversion Project (SNWDP) of China, which are approximately located within the area 28°–42°N and 110°–122°E, are being constructed. This paper investigates the past climatic variations on various time scales using instrumental and proxy data. It is found that annual mean surface air temperature has increased significantly during the past 50–100 years, and winter and spring temperatures in the northern part of the region have undergone the most significant changes. A much more significant increase occurs for annual mean minimum temperature and extreme low temperature than for annual mean maximum temperature and extreme high temperature. No significant trend in annual precipitation is found for the region as a whole for the last 50 and 100 years, although obvious decadal and spatial variation is detectable. A seesaw pattern of annual and summer precipitation variability between the north and the south of the region is evident. Over the last 100 years, the Haihe River basin has witnessed a significant negative trend of annual precipitation, but no similar trend is detected for the Yangtze and Huaihe River basins. Pan evaporation has significantly decreased since the mid-1960s in the region in spite of the fact that the trend appears to have ended in the early 1990s. The negative trend of pan evaporation is very significant in the plain area between the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. There was a notable series of dry intervals lasting decades in the north of the region. The northern drought of the past 30 years is not the most severe in view of the past 500 years; however, the southern drought during the period from the 1960s to the 1980s may have been unprecedented. The dryness–wetness index (DWI) shows significant oscillations with periodicities of 9.5 and 20 years in the south and 10.5 and 25 years in the north. Longer periodicities in the DWI series include 160–170- and 70–80-yr oscillations in the north, and 100–150-yr oscillations in the south. The observed climate change could have implications for the construction and management of the SNWDP. The official approval and start of the hydro project was catalyzed by the severe multiyear drought of 1997–2003 in the north, and the operation and management of the project in the future will also be influenced by climate change—in particular by precipitation variability. This paper provides a preliminary discussion of the potential implications of observed climate change for the SNWDP.

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Guoyu Ren, Hongbin Liu, Ziying Chu, Li Zhang, Xiang Li, Weijing Li, Yu Chen, Ge Gao, and Yan Zhang
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Xuejin Wang, Baoqing Zhang, Feng Li, Xiang Li, Xuliang Li, Yibo Wang, Rui Shao, Jie Tian, and Chansheng He

Abstract

From 1998 to the present, the Chinese government has implemented numerous large-scale ecological programs to restore ecosystems and improve environmental protection in the agro-pastoral ecotone of northern China (APENC). However, it remains unclear how vegetation restoration modulates intraregional moisture cycles and changes regional water balance. To fill this gap, we first investigated the variation in precipitation (P) from the China Meteorological Forcing Dataset and evapotranspiration (ET) estimated using the Priestley–Taylor Jet Propulsion Laboratory model under two scenarios: dynamic vegetation (DV) and no dynamic vegetation (no-DV). We then used the dynamic recycling model to analyze the changes in precipitation recycling ratio (PRR). Finally, we examined how vegetation restoration modulates intraregional moisture recycling to change the regional water cycle in APENC. Results indicate P increased at an average rate of 4.42 mm yr−2 from 1995 to 2015. ET with DV exhibited a significant increase at a rate of 1.57, 3.58, 1.53, and 1.84 mm yr−2 in the four subregions, respectively, compared with no-DV, and the annual mean PRR values were 10.15%, 9.30%, 11.01%, and 12.76% in the four subregions, and significant increasing trends were found in the APENC during 1995–2015. Further analysis of regional moisture recycling shows that vegetation restoration does not increase local P directly, but has an indirect effect by enhancing moisture recycling process to produce more P by increasing PRR. Our findings show that large-scale ecological restoration programs have a positive effect on local moisture cycle and precipitation.

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Xianghui Kong, Aihui Wang, Xunqiang Bi, Xingyu Li, and He Zhang

Abstract

To analyze the effects of horizontal resolution on hourly precipitation, four Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project simulations are carried out using the Chinese Academy of Sciences Earth System Model (CAS-ESM) and the Community Earth System Model (CESM) during 1998–2016. They include CAS-ESM at resolutions of 1.4° latitude × 1.4° longitude (CAS-ESM L) and 0.5° × 0.5° (CAS-ESM H), and CESM at resolutions of 1.9° latitude × 2.5° longitude (CESM L) and 0.47° × 0.63° (CESM H), respectively. We focus on the simulated hourly precipitation frequency and assess the frequency with respect to high-resolution satellite observations and reanalysis. The high-resolution experiments show some improvements of measurable precipitation (>0.02 mm h−1) frequency. Noticeable improvement of heavy rainfall (>2 mm h−1) frequency is demonstrated at the high resolutions. The zonal mean, seasonal mean, and area-weighted average frequency support the above results. The high-resolution experiments outperform the low-resolution experiments in reproducing hourly precipitation intensity and amount. The added value is apparent in heavy precipitation intensity from CAS-ESM H and CESM H. Over the monsoon regions and tropical convergence zones, the patterns of probability density functions for precipitation from high-resolution experiments are closer to the observations and reanalysis than those from the low-resolution simulations. The improvement of measurable precipitation frequency is mainly caused by the reductions of the convective rainfall occurrence at high resolutions. The increasing large-scale precipitation and reasonable integrated water vapor flux contribute to the improvements in measurable rainfall intensity and heavy precipitation characteristics. The results of this study support the concept that high-resolution global simulations could produce improved hourly precipitation capabilities, especially for heavy rainfall.

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Peng Zhao, Xiaotao Zhang, Sien Li, and Shaozhong Kang

Abstract

For sparse planting crops, soil surface plays an important role in energy balance processes within the soil–canopy–atmosphere continuum; thus, it is necessary to partition field energy fluxes into soil surface and canopy to provide useful information to reduce agricultural water use and to develop evapotranspiration models. Field experiments were conducted in vineyards during four growing seasons to examine the energy partitioning among soil surface, canopy, and field separately. Vineyard energy fluxes including latent heat (LE) were measured by eddy covariance system and canopy latent heat LEc was obtained from sap flow. Then, soil surface latent heat LEs was calculated as the difference between LE and LEc. The Bowen ratio and the ratio of latent heat to available energy were used to examine energy partitioning. Results indicate daily and hourly LEs obtained from LE and LEc overestimated microlysimeter-derived values by 13.0% and 10.8%, respectively. Seasonal-average latent heat accounted for 59.0%–64.3%, 65.8%–77.8%, and 56.6%–62.5% of corresponding available energy for vineyard, canopy, and soil surface, respectively. Soil water content and canopy were the main controlling factors on energy partitioning. Surface soil moisture explained 32%, 11%, and 52% of the seasonal variability in energy partitioning at field, canopy, and soil surface, respectively. Leaf area index explained 41% and 26% of the seasonal variability in energy partitioning at field and soil surface. Air temperature was related to canopy and field energy partitioning. During wet periods, soil can absorb sensible heat from the canopy and LEs may exceed soil surface available energy, while during dry periods, the canopy may absorb sensible heat from the soil and LEc may exceed canopy available energy.

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Robert J. Kuligowski, Yaping Li, Yan Hao, and Yu Zhang

Abstract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series R (GOES-R) will greatly expand the ability to observe the earth from geostationary orbit compared to the current-generation GOES, with more than 3 times as many spectral bands and a 75% reduction in footprint size. These enhanced capabilities are beneficial to rainfall rate estimation since they provide sensitivity to cloud-top properties such as phase and particle size that cannot be achieved using the limited channel selection of current GOES. The GOES-R rainfall rate algorithm, which is an infrared-based algorithm calibrated in real time against passive microwave rain rates, has been previously described in an algorithm theoretical basis document (ATBD); this paper describes modifications since the release of the ATBD, including a correction for evaporation of precipitation in dry regions and improved calibration updates. These improvements have been evaluated using a simplified version applicable to current-generation GOES to take advantage of the high-resolution ground validation data routinely available over the conterminous United States. Correcting for subcloud evaporation using relative humidity from a numerical model reduced false alarm rainfall by half and reduced the overall error by 35% for hourly accumulations validated against the National Centers for Environmental Prediction stage IV radar–gauge field; however, the number of missed events did increase slightly. Reducing the size of the calibration regions and increasing the training data requirements improved the consistency of the retrieved rates in time and space and reduced the overall error by an additional 4%.

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Xuejun Zhang, Qiuhong Tang, Xingcai Liu, Guoyong Leng, and Zhe Li

Abstract

In this paper, an experimental soil moisture drought monitoring and seasonal forecasting framework based on the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC) over southwestern China (SW) is presented. Satellite precipitation data are used to force VIC for a near-real-time estimate of land surface hydrologic conditions. Initialized with satellite-aided monitoring (MONIT), the climate model (CFSv2)-based forecast (MONIT+CFSv2) and ensemble streamflow prediction (ESP)-based forecast (MONIT+ESP) are both performed. One dry season drought and one wet season drought are employed to test the ability of this framework in terms of real-time tracking and predicting the evolution of soil moisture (SM) drought, respectively. The results show that the skillful CFSv2 climate forecasts (CFs) are only found at the first month. The satellite-aided monitoring is able to provide a reasonable estimate of forecast initial conditions (ICs) in real-time mode. In the presented cases, MONIT+CFSv2 forecast exhibits comparable performance against the observation-based estimates for the first month, whereas the predictive skill largely drops beyond 1 month. Compared to MONIT+ESP, MONIT+CFSv2 ensembles give more skillful SM drought forecast during the dry season, as indicated by a smaller ensemble range, while the added value of MONIT+CFSv2 is marginal during the wet season. A quantitative attribution analysis of SM forecast uncertainty demonstrates that SM forecast skill is mostly controlled by ICs at the first month and that uncertainties in CFs have the largest contribution to SM forecast errors at longer lead times. This study highlights a value of this framework in generating near-real-time ICs and providing a reliable SM drought prediction with 1 month ahead, which may greatly benefit drought diagnosis, assessment, and early warning.

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Jianfeng Li, Yongqin David Chen, Lu Zhang, Qiang Zhang, and Francis H. S. Chiew

Abstract

Future changes in floods and water availability across China under representative concentration pathway 2.6 (RCP2.6) and RCP8.5 are studied by analyzing discharge simulations from the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) with the consideration of uncertainties among global climate models (GCMs) and hydrologic models. Floods and water availability derived from ISI-MIP simulations are compared against observations. The uncertainties among models are quantified by model agreement. Only model agreement >50% is considered to generate reliable projections of floods and water availability and their relationships with climate change. The results show five major points. First, ISI-MIP simulations have acceptable ability in modeling floods and water availability. The spatial patterns of changes in floods and water availability highly depend on the outputs of GCMs. Uncertainties from GCMs/hydrologic models predominate the uncertainties in the wet/dry areas in eastern/northwestern China. Second, the magnitudes of floods throughout China increase during 2070–99 under RCP8.5 relative to those with the same return periods during 1971–2000. The increase rates of larger floods are higher than those of the smaller ones. Third, water availability decreases/increases in southern/northern China under RCP8.5, but changes negligibly under RCP2.6. Fourth, more severe floods in the future are driven by more intense precipitation extremes over China. The negligible change in mean precipitation and the increase in actual evapotranspiration reduce the water availability in southern China. Fifth, model agreements are higher in simulated floods than water availability because increasing precipitation extremes are more consistent among different GCM outputs compared to mean precipitation.

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