Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (9): 1100-1110.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1424-2

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Coincidence of abandoned settlements and climate change in the Xinjiang oases zone during the last 2000 years

Dan JIA(), Xiuqi FANG*(), Chengpeng ZHANG   

  1. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2016-11-03 Accepted:2017-03-16 Online:2017-09-10 Published:2017-09-05
  • Contact: Xiuqi FANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Jia Dan (1991-), PhD Candidate, specialized in the research of climate change and human adaptation.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371201, No.41430528;Project of Global Change, No.2010CB950103


The study on the relationship of abandoned settlements and climate change in the oases could provide a historical reference for understanding human responses to present and future global warming in the arid zone. A total of 554 abandoned historical settlements in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, were used to examine the relationship between abandoned settlements and temperature change over the past 2000 years. The analysis covered dynastic epochs from the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) to the Qing Dynasty (1644AD- 1911AD) in the oases of Xinjiang. Greater density of settlements was found at the oases larger than 2000 km2, which were more stable and less sensitive to climate change compared to smaller oases. Settlements flourished at small oases and the middle and lower reaches of rivers during warm periods and shrank back to piedmont basins and upstream alluvial fans during cold periods. These results demonstrated responses of oasis agriculture to climate change.

Key words: abandoned settlements, climate change, oasis, Xinjiang, the last 2000 years