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Muattar Saydi, Guoping Tang, Yan Qin, Hong Fang, and Xiaohua Chen

Abstract

Snow fraction has a direct impact on water resources in arid regions. The selection of proper methods for estimating snow fraction is thus essential. Two temperature-based and two humidity-based approaches to discriminate precipitation phase were evaluated using daily meteorological observations over the past six decades in Xinjiang in arid northwest China. The main findings included that 1) the finest discrimination was achieved by the wet-bulb temperature (T w) method whereas the single temperature threshold at 0°C produces the poorest result; the performances of the Dai and humidity-dependent empirical method (T RH) methods were between them, with slightly lower error using the Dai method. Also, the T w method is the least sensitive to regional heterogeneity and less affected by distinct changes in elevation; the other three methods, however, are biased mostly toward underestimating snow and show larger variations due to the regional discrepancies. Careful adjustment of snow discrimination thresholds based on the local properties of observation spots is needed for these methods. 2) Despite widespread warming, snow fraction perturbations in Xinjiang are characterized mainly by insignificant changes plus pronounced reductions at high mountain sites. Proxy drivers of such changes can be better explained by considering the hydrothermal diversity and changing climatic factors. Across the wetter subregions, snowfall has been significantly increasing, and the positive impact of which on snow fraction was hindered by significant warming, particularly in winter, and summer rainfall; across the drier subregions, however, insignificant change in snow fraction corresponds to a slow and insignificant increase in snowfall joined by the negative impacts of significant winter warming and summer rainfall.

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Keyan Fang, Xiaohua Gou, Fahu Chen, Edward Cook, Jinbao Li, Brendan Buckley, and Rosanne D’Arrigo
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Keyan Fang, Xiaohua Gou, Fahu Chen, Edward Cook, Jinbao Li, Brendan Buckley, and Rosanne D’Arrigo

Abstract

A preliminary study of a point-by-point spatial precipitation reconstruction for northwestern (NW) China is explored, based on a tree-ring network of 132 chronologies. Precipitation variations during the past ~200–400 yr (the common reconstruction period is from 1802 to 1990) are reconstructed for 26 stations in NW China from a nationwide 160-station dataset. The authors introduce a “search spatial correlation contour” method to locate candidate tree-ring predictors for the reconstruction data of a given climate station. Calibration and verification results indicate that most precipitation reconstruction models are acceptable, except for a few reconstructions (stations Hetian, Hami, Jiuquan, and Wuwei) with degraded quality. Additionally, the authors compare four spatial precipitation factors in the instrumental records and reconstructions derived from a rotated principal component analysis (RPCA). The northern and southern Xinjiang factors from the instrumental and reconstructed data agree well with each other. However, differences in spatial patterns between the instrumentation and reconstruction data are also found for the other two factors, which probably result from the relatively poor quality of a few stations. Major drought events documented in previous studies—for example, from the 1920s through the 1930s for the eastern part of NW China—are reconstructed in this study.

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