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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATION OF CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND FORECASTS INTO RISK-BASED MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND RESOURCE CONSERVATION

Location: Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit

Title: Simulating site-specific impacts of climate change on soil erosion and surface hydrology in the southern Loess Plateau of China

Authors
item Zhang, Xunchang
item Liu, Wenzhao - ISWC, YANGLING
item Li, Zhi - ISWC, YANGLING
item Zheng, Fengli - ISWC, YANGLING

Submitted to: Catena
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 28, 2009
Publication Date: February 23, 2009
Citation: Zhang, X.J., Liu, W., Li, Z., Zheng, F. 2009. Simulating site-specific impacts of climate change on soil erosion and surface hydrology in the southern Loess Plateau of China. Catena. Available: www.elsevier.com/locate/catena/doi/10.1016

Interpretive Summary: Climate change may have considerable impacts on water resources, soil erosion and crop production, and the potential impacts are best evaluated using computer models. Climate change scenarios projected by the U.K. Hadley Centre’s Global Climate Models (HadCM3 in short) for large areas were mathematically downscaled to the Changwu station of China. The Water Erosion Prediction Project computer model was run using the downscaled precipitation and temperature projected by the HadCM3. HadCM3 projected that average annual precipitation during 2010-2039 would increase by 4 to 18% at Changwu and that frequency and intensity of large storms would also increase. Under conventional tillage, simulated percent increases during 2010-2039, compared with the present climate, would be 49-112% for runoff and 31-167% for soil loss. However, if conservation tillage is adopted under climate change, simulated soil losses would be decreased by 39-51% compared with those under the conventional tillage under the present climate, indicating the effectiveness of surface residue in reducing soil loss in the region under climate change. This work provides an effective means for scientists and conservationists to assess the impacts of climate change on water resources, soil erosion, and crop production at a particular farm or field using computer models.

Technical Abstract: Proper spatial and temporal treatments of climate change scenarios projected by General Circulation Models (GCMs) are critical to accurate assessment of climatic impacts on natural resources and ecosystems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the site-specific impacts of climate change on soil erosion and surface hydrology at the Changwu station of Shaanxi, China using a new spatiotemporal downscaling method. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model and climate change scenarios projected by the U.K. Hadley Centre’s GCM (HadCM3) under the A2, B2, and GGa emissions scenarios were used in this study. The monthly precipitation and temperature projections were downloaded for the periods of 1900-1999 and 2010-2039 for the grid box containing the Changwu station. Univariate transfer functions were derived by matching probability distributions between station-measured and GCM-projected monthly precipitation and temperature for the 1950-1999 period. The derived functions were used to spatially downscale the GCM monthly projections of 2010-2039 to the Changwu station. The downscaled monthly data were further disaggregated to daily weather series using a stochastic weather generator (CLIGEN). HadCM3 projected that average annual precipitation during 2010-2039 would increase by 4 to 18% at Changwu and that frequency and intensity of large storms would also increase. Under conventional tillage, simulated percent increases during 2010-2039, compared with the present climate, would be 49-112% for runoff and 31-167% for soil loss. However, if conservation tillage is adopted under climate change, simulated soil losses would be decreased by 39-51% compared with those under the conventional tillage under the present climate, indicating the effectiveness of surface residue in reducing soil loss in the region under climate change.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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