Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-313
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Jul 2016
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Identifying water deficit and vegetation response during the 2009/10 drought over North China: Implications for the South-to-North Water Diversion project
Bowen Zhu, Xianhong Xie, and Kang Zhang State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Abstract. Drought frequently occurs in North China and is the most damaging disaster in this region owing to its large-scale impact on hydrology and ecosystems. This is the main reason that China implemented the world-famous South-to-North Water Diversion (SNWD) project. However, quantifying the drought-induced water deficit at a regional scale is still a significant challenge. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites monitor temporal variations in the Earth’s gravitational potential and provide quality data sets for water storage analysis. In this study, we quantify the water deficit over North China in the context of the implementation of the SNWD project by focusing on a recent drought event, the 2009/10 drought, and identifying its onset, persistence, and recovery. As confirmed with ground-measured and land surface modelling data sets, GRACE can successfully capture temporal variations in total water storage. Total water storage shows a declining trend, reaching a low point during the 2009/10 drought with a water storage deficit of up to 25 km3 (~ 22 mm). Groundwater storage shows a similar pattern, with a trend of −6.97 mm yr−1. Together with the water deficit, vegetation growth is substantially restricted, as indicated by a reduction in the leaf area index. The amount of water transfer by the SNWD project can roughly meet the water deficit in North China but the effectiveness of the SNWD will depends on specific water configuration strategies.

Citation: Zhu, B., Xie, X., and Zhang, K.: Identifying water deficit and vegetation response during the 2009/10 drought over North China: Implications for the South-to-North Water Diversion project, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-313, 2016.
Bowen Zhu et al.
Bowen Zhu et al.

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Short summary
This study attempts to identify water deficit using GRACE data and vegetation response during the 2009/10 drought over North China. There was a decling trend in total water storage for the past decade based on GRACE data, and the regional deficit of water storage was approximately 25 km3 in 2009/10. This drought event has led to suppression of vegetation growth in North China. The SNWD project may ease the water storage deficit in North China for this level of drought intensity.
This study attempts to identify water deficit using GRACE data and vegetation response during...
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