Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 334-350.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1601-6

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Relative soil moisture in China’s farmland

Guofeng ZHU1,2,3(), Hanxiong PAN1,*(), Yu ZHANG1, Huiwen GUO1, Leilei YONG1, Qiaozhuo WAN1, Huiying MA1, Sen LI4   

  1. 1. College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3. Gansu Engineering Research Center of Land Utilization and Comprehension Consolidation, Lanzhou 730070, China
    4. State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
  • Received:2018-09-19 Accepted:2018-11-22 Online:2019-03-25 Published:2019-03-20
  • Contact: Hanxiong PAN;
  • About author:

    Author: Zhu Guofeng (1983-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in hydrology and water resources.E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41661005, No.41867030;Chinese Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No.2016T90961;National Natural Science Foundation Innovation Research Group Science Foundation of China, No.41421061;Autonomous Project of State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Sciences, No.SKLCS-ZZ-2017;Remote Sensing Monitoring Special Project of Rotation and Fallow System in Pilot Regions under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, No.SCZG2017-ZB-2187/1-HT


Based on the data of relative soil moisture in 653 agricultural meteorological stations during the period of 1993?2013 in China, the characteristics and regularity of spatial and temporal variation of relative soil moisture in China’s farmland were analyzed and discussed using geostatistical methods. The results showed that the relative soil moisture of China’s farmland has shown a fluctuant increasing trend since 1993. The relative soil moisture of China’s farmland is more than 60% in general, its distribution area has been expanded northward and westward with the summer monsoon since mid-April and began to shrink eastward and southward in late October. The value of relative soil moisture increases with the increase of soil depth. On an interannual scale, the relative soil moisture of farmland increased fastest in summer and autumn, and its variation range decreased with the increase of soil depth. The relative soil moisture was positively correlated with precipitation, and negatively correlated with potential evaporation and temperature. The correlation between relative soil moisture and various meteorological factors weakened as soil depth increased. The meteorological factors have a great influence on relative soil moisture of dry land in spring, summer and autumn and they also have a greater impact on relative soil moisture of paddy fields in winter.

Key words: relative soil moisture, farmland, kriging interpolation, correlation analysis, spatial and temporal variation