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Distribution and trends in reference evapotranspiration in the North China plain

April 1, 2010

The distribution and trends in reference evapotranspiration (ET(o)) are extremely important to water resources planning for agriculture, and it is widely believed that rates of ET(o) will increase with global warming. This is a big concern in China, where water deficits are common in the North China Plain (NCP). In this study, Penman-Monteith reference evapotranspiration at 26 meteorological stations during 1961-2006 in and around the NCP was calculated. The temporal variations and spatial distribution of ET(o) were analyzed and the causes for the variations were discussed. The results showed that: (1) the NCP was divided into two climatic regions based on aridity values: a semiarid region that accounts for 69% of the area and subhumid regions that made of the remaining area; (2) over the entire NCP, the highest annual ET(o) occurred in the central and western areas and the lowest total ET(o) was observed in the east. Comparing the mean monthly ET(o) and annual ET(o) distributions, the high ET(o) values from May through July mainly determined the annual ET(o) distribution; (3) for the whole NCP, annual ET(o) showed a statistically significant decrease of 11.92 mm/decade over the 46 years of data collection in the NCP or approximately a 5% total decrease compared to the ET(o) values in 1961; (4) to determine which variable has the greatest effect on the decrease in ET(o), decadal changes were observed for daily values of maximum air temperature (+0.16 degrees C), minimum air temperature (+0.35 degrees C), net radiation (-0.13 MJ m(-2)), and mean wind speed (-0.09 m s(-1)). These results indicate that the decreasing net radiation and wind speed had a bigger impact on ET(o) rates than the increases observed by the maximum and minimum temperatures.

Publication Year 2010
Title Distribution and trends in reference evapotranspiration in the North China plain
DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0000175
Authors Z. W. Song, Hailin Zhang, Richard L. Snyder, Frank Anderson, F. Chen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Index ID 70199736
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center