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Jinyang Du and Qiang Liu

Abstract

Knowledge of the spatial distribution and temporal changes of the land surface parameters at the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) region is essential to understanding the changes of hydrological processes and climate systems possibly brought by TGD. Based on accumulated observations for years from a spaceborne passive microwave radiometer, this study presents and analyzes the spatial and temporal distribution of soil moisture in the TGD region. Major drought and flood events are identified from the satellite-derived soil moisture products. Moreover, the areas around the largest freshwater lakes of China, the Dongting and Poyang Lakes, are frequently subjected to drought events, which might be partially related to the impoundment of TGD since the year 2006. Data analysis further reveals a statistically significant drying trend in May in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River over the years 2003–11. These analyses indicate that water shortage becomes a realistic challenge for the once water abundant Yangtze River region, and more considerations on the possible consequences brought by climate changes are needed for the operation of TGD.

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Rezaul Mahmood, Roger A. Pielke Sr., Kenneth G. Hubbard, Dev Niyogi, Gordon Bonan, Peter Lawrence, Richard McNider, Clive McAlpine, Andres Etter, Samuel Gameda, Budong Qian, Andrew Carleton, Adriana Beltran-Przekurat, Thomas Chase, Arturo I. Quintanar, Jimmy O. Adegoke, Sajith Vezhapparambu, Glen Conner, Salvi Asefi, Elif Sertel, David R. Legates, Yuling Wu, Robert Hale, Oliver W. Frauenfeld, Anthony Watts, Marshall Shepherd, Chandana Mitra, Valentine G. Anantharaj, Souleymane Fall, Robert Lund, Anna Treviño, Peter Blanken, Jinyang Du, Hsin-I Chang, Ronnie Leeper, Udaysankar S. Nair, Scott Dobler, Ravinesh Deo, and Jozef Syktus
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