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  • Table of Content
      Dec. 2011, Volume 21 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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    Climate Change
    Climate change and its driving effect on the runoff in the “Three-River Headwaters”region
    ZHANG Shifeng, HUA Dong, MENG Xiujing, ZHANG Yongyong
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 963-978.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0893-y
    Abstract   PDF (768KB) ( 0 )

    Based on the precipitation and temperature data of the 12 meteorological stations in the “Three-River Headwaters” region and the observed runoff data of Zhimenda in the headwater sub-region of the Yangtze River, Tangnaihai in the headwater sub-region of the Yellow River and Changdu in the headwater sub-region of the Lancang River during the period 1965-2004, this paper analyses the trends of precipitation, temperature, runoff depth and carries out significance tests by means of Mann-Kendall-Sneyers sequential trend test. Makkink model is applied to calculate the potential evaporation. The runoff model driven by precipitation and potential evaporation is developed and the influence on runoff by climate change is simulated under different scenarios. Results show that during the period 1965-2004 the temperature of the “Three-River Headwaters” region is increasing, the runoff of the three hydrological stations is decreasing and both of them had abrupt changes in 1994, while no significant trend changes happen to the precipitation. The runoff model suggests that the precipitation has a positive effect on the runoff depth, while the potential evaporation plays a negative role. The influence of the potential evaporation on the runoff depth of the Lancang River is found to be the significant in the three rivers; and that of the Yellow River is the least. The result of the scenarios analysis indicates that although the precipitation and the potential evaporation have positive and negative effects on runoff relatively, fluctuated characteristics of individual effect on the runoff depth in specific situations are represented.

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    Spatio-temporal changes of NDVI and its relation with climatic variables in the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers
    YANG Zhaoping, GAO Jixi, ZHOU Caiping, SHI Peili, ZHAO Lin, SHEN Wenshou, OUYANG Hua
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 979-993.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0894-x
    Abstract   PDF (663KB) ( 0 )

    The source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers are important water conservation areas of China. In recent years, ecological deterioration trend of the source regions caused by global climate change and unreasonable resource development increased gradually. In this paper, the spatial distribution and dynamic change of vegetation cover in the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers are analyzed in recent 10 years based on 1-km resolution multi-temporal SPOTVGT-DN data from 1998 to 2007. Meanwhile, the correlation relationships between air temperature, precipitation, shallow ground temperature and NDVI, which is 3×3 pixel at the center of Wudaoliang, Tuotuohe, Qumalai, Maduo, and Dari meteorological stations were analyzed. The results show that the NDVI values in these two source regions are increasing in recent 10 years. Spatial distribution of NDVI which was consistent with hydrothermal condition decreased from southeast to northwest of the source regions. NDVI with a value over 0.54 was mainly distributed in the southeastern source region of the Yellow River, and most NDVI values in the northwestern source region of the Yangtze River were less than 0.22. Spatial changing trend of NDVI has great difference and most parts in the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers witnessed indistinct change. The regions with marked increasing trend were mainly distributed on the south side of the Tongtian River, some part of Keqianqu, Tongtian, Chumaer, and Tuotuo rivers in the source region of the Yangtze River and Xingsuhai, and southern Dari county in the source region of the Yellow River. The regions with very marked increasing tendency were mainly distributed on the south side of Tongtian Rriver and sporadically distributed in hinterland of the source region of the Yangtze River. The north side of Tangula Range in the source region of the Yangtze River and Dari and Maduo counties in the source region of the Yellow River were areas in which NDVI changed with marked decreasing tendency. The NDVI change was positively correlated with average temperature, precipitation and shallow ground temperature. Shallow ground temperature had the greatest effect on NDVI change, and the second greatest factor influencing NDVI was average temperature. The correlation between NDVI and shallow ground temperature in the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers increased significantly with the depth of soil layer.

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    Impact of urban expansion on meteorological observation data and overestimation to regional air temperature in China
    SHAO Quanqin, SUN Chaoyang, LIU Jiyuan, HE Jianfeng, KUANG Wenhui, TAO Fulu
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 994-1006.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0895-9
    Abstract   PDF (642KB) ( 0 )

    Since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy in China in the late 1970s, some meteorological stations ‘entered’ cities passively due to urban expansion. Changes in the surface and built environment around the stations have influenced observations of air temperature. When the observational data from urban stations are applied in the interpolation of national or regional scale air temperature dataset, they could lead to overestimation of regional air temperature and inaccurate assessment of warming. In this study, the underlying surface surrounding 756 meteorological stations across China was identified based on remote sensing images over a number of time intervals to distinguish the rural stations that ’entered’ into cities. Then, after removing the observational data from these stations which have been influenced by urban expansion, a dataset of background air temperatures was generated by interpolating the observational data from the remaining rural stations. The mean urban heat island effect intensity since 1970 was estimated by comparing the original observational records from urban stations with the background air temperature interpolated. The result shows that urban heat island effect does occur due to urban expansion, with a higher intensity in winter than in other seasons. Then the overestimation of regional air temperature is evaluated by comparing the two kinds of grid datasets of air temperature which are respectively interpolated by all stations’ and rural stations’ observational data. Spatially, the overestimation is relatively higher in eastern China than in the central part of China; however, both areas exhibit a much higher effect than is observed in western China. We concluded that in the last 40 years the mean temperature in China increased by about 1.58℃, of which about 0.01℃ was attributed to urban expansion, with a contribution of up to 0.09℃ in the core areas from the overestimation of air temperature.

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    Spatial and temporal trends of climate change in Xinjiang, China
    LI Qihu, CHEN Yaning, SHEN Yanjun, LI Xingong, XU Jianhua
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1007-1018.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0896-8
    Abstract   PDF (639KB) ( 0 )

    Temperature and precipitation time series datasets from 1961 to 2005 at 65 meteorological stations were used to reveal the spatial and temporal trends of climate change in Xinjiang, China. Annual and seasonal mean air temperature and total precipitation were analyzed using Mann-Kendall (MK) test, inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation, and R/S methods. The results indicate that: (1) both temperature and precipitation increased in the past 45 years, but the increase in temperature is more obvious than that of precipitation; (2) for temperature increase, the higher the latitude and the higher the elevation the faster the increase, though the latitude has greater influence on the increase. Northern Xinjiang shows a faster warming than southern Xinjiang, especially in summer; (3) increase of precipitation occurs mainly in winter in northern Xinjiang and in summer in southern Xinjiang. Ili, which has the most precipitation in Xinjiang, shows a weak increase of precipitation; (4) although both temperature and precipitation increased in general, the increase is different inside Xinjiang; (5) Hurst index (H) analysis indicates that climate change will continue the current trends.

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    Earth Surface Process
    The geo-pattern of course shifts of the Lower Yellow River
    WANG Yingjie, SU Yanjun
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1019-1036.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0897-7
    Abstract   PDF (993KB) ( 0 )

    The changing pattern of the Lower Yellow River (LYR) obtained from the traditional studies, which mainly did literal analysis based on historical documents related to the LYR are too macroscopic and absent of intuitiveness. This paper integrates all the records in historical documents related to course shift, flood and overflow of the last 3000 years and stores them in a GIS database. Then, all the data will be visualized in the form of map, which is helpful to show and understand the rules those events conform more intuitively and accurately. Taking these data as foundation, this study summarizes characteristics of the LYR’s courses and influence scope, and classifies them both into three types; divides the flow directions of the LYR’s courses into two periods, and proposes its changing pattern; concludes the characteristic of diversion points of courses shift events; calculates the velocity of courses shifts, gradient and sinuosity, and analyzes their changing patterns. Finally, this study classifies factors that may influence the occurrence of a course shift into two types: the internal factors, such as sediment rate, gradient and sinuosity of the river, and the external factors, such as precipitation and human activities.

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    Scour and silting evolution and its influencing factors in Inner Mongolian Reach of the Yellow River
    QIN Yi, ZHANG Xiaofang, WANG Fenglong, YAN Heng, HAN Haijun
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1037-1046.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0898-6
    Abstract   PDF (378KB) ( 0 )

    Rivers with fluvial equilibrium are characterized by bed deformation adjustment. The erosion-deposition area in cross-section reflects this characteristic, which is a base of researching the river scour and deposition evolution by time series analysis. With an erosion- deposition area indicator method proposed in this paper, the time series of erosion- deposition area quantity at Bygl and Shhk stations were obtained with the series duration of 31 years from 1976 to 2006. After analysis of its trend and mutation, three different tendencies about the evolution were observed in general from the quasi-equilibrium phase through a rapid shrinkage to the final new quasi-equilibrium. It is also found that the trend of erosion-deposition area series will change once a big flood occurred in some of the tributaries, and its ever greater influence is due to the decrease of deluge with the completion of upstream reservoirs. Almost all the turning points were coincident with the time when hyper- concentrated sediment flood occurred in some tributaries. With the time series of clear mutations since the late 1990s, the Inner Mongolian Reach has been in a new equilibrium phase. This can be concluded in two aspects. 1. The absence of big floods and sediment transportation from tributaries result in the river shrinkage, and to regain the channel flow-carrying capacity in Inner Mongolian Reach a large flood is needed both of high peak discharge and of lengthy interval to destroy the new equilibrium. 2. The proposed method of erosion-deposition area indicator is of great help to channel scour-deposition evolution analysis because it can demonstrate real time deformation of cross section in quantity.

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    Temporal variability of water discharge and sediment load of the Yellow River into the sea during 1950-2008
    LIU Feng, CHEN Shenliang, PENG Jun, CHEN Guangquan
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1047-1061.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0899-5
    Abstract   PDF (639KB) ( 0 )

    Based on hydrological data observed at Lijin gauging station from 1950 to 2008, the temporal changes of water discharge and sediment load of the Yellow River into the sea were analyzed by the wavelet analysis, and their impacts on the estuary were investigated in different periods based on the measured coastline and bathymetry data. The results show that: (1) there were three significant periodicities, i.e. annual (0.5-1.0-year), inter-annual (3.0-6.5-year) and decadal (10.1-14.2-year), in the variations of water discharge and sediment load into the sea, which might be related to the periodic variations of El Nino and Southern Oscillation at long-term timescales. Variations of water discharge and sediment load were varying in various timescales, and their periodic variations were not significant during the 1970s-2000s due to strong human disturbances. (2) The long-term variation of water discharge and sediment load into the sea has shown a stepwise decrease since the 1950s due to the combined influences of human activities and precipitation decrease in the Yellow River Basin, and the human activities were the main cause for the decrease of water discharge and sediment load. (3) The water discharge and sediment load into the sea greatly influenced the evolution of the Yellow River Estuary, especially the stretch rate of coastline and the deposition rate of the sub-aqueous topography off the estuary which deposited since 1976.

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    Composition, origin and weathering process of surface sediment in Kumtagh Desert, Northwest China
    XU Zhiwei, LU Huayu, ZHAO Cunfa, WANG Xianyan, SU Zhizhu, WANG Zhenting, LIU Hongyi, WANG Lixin, LU Qi
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1062-1076.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0900-3
    Abstract   PDF (564KB) ( 0 )

    Kumtagh Desert is one of the eight biggest deserts in China, but poorly investigated before our interdisciplinary study because of the difficulty of access. In this paper, 33 representative surface sediment samples were collected from the Kumtagh Desert and analyzed in the laboratory to obtain heavy mineral components and geochemical element contents. Results show that various kinds of heavy minerals are present in these samples, with high levels of epidote and hornblende. Si and Al take up a large part of chemical composition. Compared with the average composition of geochemical elements of the upper continental crust (UCC), except Si and Ca, all elements are depleted to a certain degree; Fe, Mg, Ca, P, Ti and Mn have high correlation coefficients in their contents. The mineral and geochemical composition of the Kumtagh Desert sediments have a similarity with that of rocks of Altyn Tagh Mountains, and the surface sediments of the alluvial/diluvial fans around the Altyn Tagh Mountains and that of the Taklamakan Desert, indicating that one major source of the Kumtagh Desert sediments is located in the Altyn Tagh Mountains. Alluvial deposits and lake sediments in Aqik valley and lower reaches of Shule River are prone to be eroded and transported by the strong northeasterly wind into the Kumtagh Desert, forming another source of the desert deposits. An A-CN-K ternary diagram shows that a weak degree chemical weathering by the loss of Na and K occurred in these sediments, whereas A-CNK-FM ternary diagram suggests that Fe and Mg have undergone a significant chemical differentiation. Physical weathering processes cause easy erosion and enrichment in fine particles for mafic minerals, thus coarse desert sand particles can be relatively depleted in Fe and Mg. The mineral and geochemical composition of sediments in arid regions experiencing less chemical weathering are mostly affected by physical weathering.

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    Morphometric analysis of the drainage system and its hydrological implications in the rain shadow regions, Kerala, India
    Jobin THOMAS, Sabu JOSEPH, K.P. THRIVIKRAMJI, George ABE
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1077-1088.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0901-2
    Abstract   PDF (595KB) ( 0 )

    The rain shadow regions requisite a comprehensive watershed development and management plan for sustainable water resources management. The Pambar River Basin (PRB) lies on the rain shadow region of the southern Western Ghats, India, where climate showed marked intra-basin variation. A morphometric analysis was done to evaluate the drainage characteristics of PRB using topographical maps and digital elevation data. PRB was divided into eighteen 4th order basins (SB1-SB18), distributed along various climatic gradients. Lower order streams mostly dominate PRB and drainage pattern is a function of relief and structure. The terrain is highly dissected and prone to soil erosion during heavy storms and the elongated shape of PRB enables easier flood management. The influence of climate on drainage characteristics was evidently emphasized in basin morphometry. Four distinctively different classes were identified based on the morphometric similarities. The significance of morphometric analysis on the hydrological characterization is discussed and the relevance of the present study in water harvesting has been explicated.

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    Applications of GIS
    Scale effect and methods for accuracy evaluation of attribute information loss in rasterization
    BAI Yan, LIAO Shunbao, SUN Jiulin
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1089-1100.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0902-1
    Abstract   PDF (375KB) ( 0 )

    Rasterization is a conversion process accompanied with information loss, which includes the loss of features’ shape, structure, position, attribute and so on. Two chief factors that affect estimating attribute accuracy loss in rasterization are grid cell size and evaluating method. That is, attribute accuracy loss in rasterization has a close relationship with grid cell size; besides, it is also influenced by evaluating methods. Therefore, it is significant to analyze these two influencing factors comprehensively. Taking land cover data of Sichuan at the scale of 1:250,000 in 2005 as a case, in view of data volume and its processing time of the study region, this study selects 16 spatial scales from 600 m to 30 km, uses rasterizing method based on the Rule of Maximum Area (RMA) in ArcGIS and two evaluating methods of attribute accuracy loss, which are Normal Analysis Method (NAM) and a new Method Based on Grid Cell (MBGC), respectively, and analyzes the scale effect of attribute (it is area here) accuracy loss at 16 different scales by these two evaluating methods comparatively. The results show that: (1) At the same scale, average area accuracy loss of the entire study region evaluated by MBGC is significantly larger than the one estimated using NAM. Moreover, this discrepancy between the two is obvious in the range of 1 km to 10 km. When the grid cell is larger than 10 km, average area accuracy losses calculated by the two evaluating methods are stable, even tended to parallel. (2) MBGC can not only estimate RMA rasterization attribute accuracy loss accurately, but can express the spatial distribution of the loss objectively. (3) The suitable scale domain for RMA rasterization of land cover data of Sichuan at the scale of 1:250,000 in 2005 is better equal to or less than 800 m, in which the data volume is favorable and the processing time is not too long, as well as the area accuracy loss is less than 2.5%.

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    Scale effects of the continental coastline of China
    SU Fenzhen, GAO Yi, ZHOU Chenghu, YANG Xiaomei, FEI Xianyun
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1101-1111.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0903-0
    Abstract   PDF (451KB) ( 0 )

    Spatial scale is a fundamental problem in Geography. Scale effect caused by fractal characteristic of coastline becomes a common focus of coastal zone managers and researchers. In this study, based on DEM and remote sensing images, multi-scale continental coastlines of China were extracted and the fractal characteristic was analyzed. The results are shown as follows. (1) The continental coastline of China fits the fractal model, and the fractal dimension is 1.195. (2) The scale effects with fractal dimensions of coastline have significant differences according to uplift and subsidence segments along the continental coastlines of China. (3) The fractal dimension of coastline has significant spatial heterogeneity according to the coastline types. The fractal dimension of sandy coastline located in Luanhe River plain is 1.109. The dimension of muddy coastline located in northern Jiangsu Plain is 1.059, while that of rocky coastline along southeastern Fujian is 1.293. (4) The length of rocky coastline is affected by scale more than that of muddy and sandy coastline. Since coastline is the conjunction of sea, land and air surface, the study of coastline scale effect is one of the scientific bases for the researches on air-sea-land interaction in multi-scales.

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    Human-Environment Interactions
    Adaptation strategies to pasture degradation: Gap between government and local nomads in the eastern Tibetan Plateau
    YAN Jianzhong, WU Yingying, ZHANG Yili
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1112-1122.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0904-z
    Abstract   PDF (264KB) ( 0 )

    In the last decade, there has been increasing interest in climate change, pasture degradation and its driving forces, and innovations in nomadic pastoralism on the Tibetan Plateau. However, little is known of indigenous strategies of adaptation to pasture degradation, which limits the effectiveness of adaptation strategies planned by local government. This paper analyzes nomads’ strategies of adaptation to pasture degradation on the basis of a field survey of three townships of Dalag County in the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Pastures there have evidently degraded, with pastures in Wasai mainly in a state of slight or medium degradation and those in Manzhang and Jianshe in a state of medium or severe degradation. With the degradation of pasture, the grazing time is reduced, which affects the livelihoods of nomads. Although the Four-Package Project has commenced in this region, there is still severe fodder shortage in winter and spring. The traditional hay storage strategy does not work because of pasture degradation, and few nomads establish fenced and artificial pastures. Therefore, nomads have employed other strategies, such as renting pasture, providing supplementary feed, and diversifying their livelihoods. Local strategies taken by nomads can provide valuable insights into ecological restoration and livelihood improvement in the region and suggest changes to means promoted by local government. It is necessary to seek new means that combine the best aspects of nomadic pastoralism with modern stockbreeding technologies to help nomads adapt to pasture degeneration and improve their livelihoods.

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    Uncertainty evaluation of the coordinated development of urban human settlement environment and economy in Changsha city
    XIONG Ying
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1123-1137.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0905-y
    Abstract   PDF (460KB) ( 0 )

    The coordinated development of human settlement environment and economy is of vital significance to urban sustainable development and urban ecosystem health. Urban human settlement and economic systems exist in urban ecosystems, which are a structural complexity. Therefore the research is being challenged by some uncertain factors between human settlements and economic systems. However most of the researches were focused on its determinate objective aspects and qualitative analyses while less concern on the quantitative evaluation of coordinated development of urban human settlement environment and economy, especially little on its uncertain aspect. At present, the urgent task is to study the coordinated development of urban settlement environment and economy in terms of the effect of uncertainty. This study analyzed the uncertain characteristics, which would be confronted at different stages, such as confirming the index categories, their bound values, and their construction rate, etc. According to the actual urban conditions, many construction principles based on uncertainties are put forward and an indicating system for human settlement and economic evaluation is established. Moreover, the application of fuzzy mathematics presents a new method and a calculation model for the comprehensive assessment of the coordinated development of urban human settlement environment and economy. The application of the method and model in Changsha city of China showed that the assessment results can reflect not only the overall coordination degree of the city, but also the mode of interactive mechanism between urban economic system and human settlement environment.

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    Land use change and soil erosion in the Maotiao River watershed of Guizhou Province
    XU Yueqing, LUO Ding, PENG Jian
    Journal of Geographical Sciences. 2011, 21 (6): 1138-1152.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0906-x
    Abstract   PDF (434KB) ( 0 )

    Due to the extremely poor soil cover, a low soil-forming rate, and inappropriate intensive land use, soil erosion is a serious problem in Guizhou Province, which is located in the centre of the karst areas of Southwest China. In order to bring soil erosion under control and restore environment, the Chinese Government has initiated a serious of ecological rehabilitation projects such as the Grain-for-Green Programme and Natural Forest Protection Program and brought about tremendous influences on land-use change and soil erosion in Guizhou Province. This paper explored the relationship between land use and soil erosion in the Maotiao River watershed, a typical agricultural area with severe soil erosion in central Guizhou Province. In this study, we analyzed the spatio-temporal dynamic change of land-use type in Maotiao River watershed from 1973 to 2007 using Landsat MSS image in 1973, Landsat TM data in 1990 and 2007. Soil erosion change characteristics from 1973 to 2007, and soil loss among different land-use types were examined by integrating the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) with a GIS environment. The results indicate that changes in land use within the watershed have significantly affected soil erosion. From 1973 to 1990, dry farmland and rocky desertified land significantly increased. In contrast, shrubby land, other forestland and grassland significantly decreased, which caused accelerated soil erosion in the study area. This trend was reversed from 1990 to 2007 with an increased area of land-use types for ecological use owing to the implementation of environmental protection programs. Soil erosion also significantly varied among land-use types. Erosion was most serious in dry farmland and the lightest in paddy field. Dry farmland with a gradient of 6°-25° was the major contributor to soil erosion, and conservation practices should be taken in these areas. The results of this study provide useful information for decision makers and planners to take sustainable land use management and soil conservation measures in the area.

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