• Ya-Feng Zhang

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Heterogeneity of soil surface temperature induced by xerophytic shrub in a revegetated desert ecosystem, northwestern China

      Ya-Feng Zhang Xin-Ping Wang Yan-Xia PAN Rui Hu Hao Zhang

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      Variation characteristics of the soil surface temperature induced by shrub canopy greatly affects the nearsurface biological and biochemical processes in desert ecosystems. However, information regarding the effects of shrub upon the heterogeneity of soil surface temperature is scarce. Here we aimed to characterize the effects of shrub (Caragana korshinskii) canopy on the soil surface temperature heterogeneity at areas under shrub canopy and the neighbouring bare ground. Diurnal variations of soil surface temperature were measured at areas adjacent to the shrub base (ASB), beneath the midcanopy (BMC), and in the bare intershrub spaces (BIS) at the eastern, southern, western and northern aspects of shrub, respectively. Results indicated that diurnal mean soil surface temperature under the C. korshinskii canopy (ASB and BMC) was significantly lower than in the BIS, with the highest in the BIS, followed by the BMC and ASB. The diurnal maximum and diurnal variations of soil surface temperatures under canopy vary strongly with different aspects of shrub with the diurnal variation in solar altitude, which could be used as cues to detect safe sites for under-canopy biota. A significant empirical linear relationship was found between soil surface temperature and solar altitude, suggesting an empirical predicator that solar altitude can serve for soil surface temperature. Lower soil surface temperatures under the canopy than in the bare intershrub spaces imply that shrubs canopy play a role of ‘cool islands’ in the daytime in terms of soil surface temperature during hot summer months in the desert ecosystems characterized by a mosaic of sparse vegetation and bare ground.

    • Condensation of water vapour on moss-dominated biological soil crust, NW China

      Xin-Ping Wang Yan-Xia Pan Rui Hu Ya-Feng Zhang Hao Zhang

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      Characteristics of water vapour condensation, including the onset, duration, and amount of water vapour condensation on moss-dominated biological soil crust (BSC) and dune sand were studied under simulated conditions with varying air temperature and relative humidity. The simulations were performed in a plant growth chamber using an electronic balance recording the weight of condensation. There was a positive linear correlation between the water vapour condensation and relative humidity while the mean temperature was negatively linearly related to amounts of water vapour condensation for both soil surfaces. The amount of water vapour condensation on BSC and dune sand can be described by the difference between air temperature and dew point with an exponential function, indicating that when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 35.3°C, there will be zero water vapour condensed on BSC. In contrast, when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 20.4°C, the water vapour condensation will be zero for dune sand. In general, when the air is fully saturated with water and the dew point is equal to the current air temperature, the water vapour condensed on BSC attained its maximum value of 0.398 mm, whereas it was 0.058 mm for dune sand. In comparison, water vapour condensed on BSC was at a relatively high temperature and low relative humidity, while we did not detect water vapour condensation on the dune sand under the similar conditions. Physical and chemical analyses of the samples pointed to a greater porosity, high content of fine particles, and high salinity for BSC compared to the dune sand. These results highlight that soil physicochemical properties are the likely factors influencing the mechanism of water vapour condensation under specific meteorological conditions, as onset was earlier and the duration was longer for water vapour condensation on BSC in comparison with that of dune sand. This contributed to the greater amount of vapour absorbed on BSC compared to the dune sand under an identical meteorological condition. The feedback of water vapour condensation on BSC formation and its contribution to sustain the revegetation desert ecosystems was discussed.

    • Comparison of diurnal dynamics in evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil within a revegetated desert ecosystem of northwestern China

      Ya-Feng Zhang Xin-Ping Wang Yan-Xia Pan Rui Hu

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      Effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil evaporation is quite controversial in literature, being either facilitative or inhibitive, and therein few studies have actually conducted direct evaporation measurements. Continuous field measurements of soil water evaporation were conducted on two microlysimeters, i.e., one with sand soil collected from bare sand dune area and the other with moss-crusted soil collected from an area that was revegetated in 1956, from field capacity to dry, at the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert. We mainly aimed to quantify the diurnal variations of evaporation rate from two soils, and further comparatively discuss the effects of BSCs on soil evaporation after revegetation. Results showed that in clear days with high soil water content (Day 1 and 2), the diurnal variation of soil evaporation rate followed the typical convex upward parabolic curve, reaching its peak around midday. Diurnal evaporation rate and the accumulated evaporation amount of moss-crusted soil were lower (an average of 0.90 times) than that of sand soil in this stage. However, as soil water content decreased to a moderately low level (Day 3 and 4), the diurnal evaporation rate from moss-crusted soil was pronouncedly higher (an average of 3.91 times) than that of sand soil, prolonging the duration of this higher evaporation rate stage; it was slightly higher in the final stage (Day 5 and 6) when soil moisture was very low. We conclude that the effects of moss crusts on soil evaporation vary with different evaporation stages, which is closely related to soil water content, and the variation and transition of evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil are expected to be predicted by soil water content.

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