Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 439-454.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1736-5

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effect of farmland expansion on drought over the past century in Songnen Plain, Northeast China

YU Wanhui1, ZHANG Lijuan1,*(), ZHANG Hongwen2, JIANG Lanqi3, ZHANG Ankang1, Pan Tao1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Monitoring of Geographic Environment, College of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150025, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3. Heilongjiang Province Institute of Meteorological Sciences; Innovation and Opening Laboratory of Regional Eco-Meteorology in Northeast, China Meteorological Administra-tion, Harbin 150030, China
  • Received:2019-05-30 Accepted:2019-09-09 Online:2020-03-25 Published:2020-05-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Lijuan
  • About author:Yu Wanhui (1974-), PhD, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.41771067);Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province(No.D2018007)


The effects of human activities on climate change are a significant area of research in the field of global environmental change. Land use and land cover change (LUCC) has a greater effect on climate than greenhouse gases, and the effect of farmland expansion on regional drought is particularly important. From the 1910s to the 2010s, cultivated land in Songnen Plain increased by 2.67 times, the area of cultivated land increased from 4.92×10 4km 2 to 13.14×10 4km 2, and its percentage of all land increased from 25% to 70%. This provides an opportunity to study the effects of the conversion of natural grassland to farmland on climate. In this study, the drought indices in Songnen Plain were evaluated from the 1910s to the 2010s, and the effect of farmland expansion on drought was investigated using statistical methods and the Weather Research and Forecasting Model based on UK’s Climatic Research Unit data. The resulting dryness index, Palmer drought severity index, and standardized precipitation index values indicated a significant drying trend in the study area from 1981 to 2010. This trend can be attributed to increases in maximum temperature and diurnal temperature range, which increased the degree of drought. Based on statistical analysis and simulation, the maximum temperature, diurnal temperature range, and sensible heat flux increased during the growing season in Songnen Plain over the past 100 years, while the minimum temperature and latent heat flux decreased. The findings indicate that farmland expansion caused a drying trend in Songnen Plain during the study period.

Key words: drought effect, farmland expansion, centennial-scale changes, Songnen Plain