Moisture budget variations in the Yangtze River Basin, China, and possible associations with large-scale circulation

  • Zengxin ZhangEmail author
  • Hui Tao
  • Qiang Zhang
  • Jinchi Zhang
  • Nicola Forher
  • Georg Hörmann
Original Paper


We analyzed seasonal and annual variations of the whole layer atmospheric moisture budget and precipitation during 1961–2005 and their associations with large-scale circulation in the Yangtze River basin, China. The results indicated increasing moisture budget in summer and winter, but decreasing moisture budget in spring and autumn. Positive correlations between moisture budget and precipitation illustrate tremendous impacts the moisture budget has on the precipitation changes across the Yangtze River basin. In terms of seasonal variations, significant correlations were observed between precipitation and moisture budget in spring and autumn in the upper Yangtze River basin. Besides, we also analyzed changes of geopotential height. The positive trends of the geopotential height (850 hPa) were observed in the East Asia and the negative trends in the middle and west Pacific Ocean, indicating increasing geopotential height from south to north in east Asia which largely limited the moisture propagation to north China. While decreasing meridional geopotential height from west to east along the Yangtze River basin caused more moisture propagation from the west to the east parts of the study region, which may benefit more precipitation in the middle and lower Yangtze River basin.


Moisture budget Hydrological cycle Large scale circulation The Yangtze River basin China 



This study is financially supported by the National Basic Research Program (“973 Program”, Grant No. 2006CB403200), the National Forestry Science and Technique Foundation during the 11th Five-Year Plan Period (2006BAD03A1601), and by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 40701015, 40801015). We would like to thank the National Climate Centre in Beijing for providing valuable climate datasets. Cordial thanks should also be extended to the editor-in-chief, Prof. Dr. George Christakos, and the two anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments which greatly improved the quality of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zengxin Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hui Tao
    • 2
  • Qiang Zhang
    • 3
  • Jinchi Zhang
    • 1
  • Nicola Forher
    • 4
  • Georg Hörmann
    • 4
  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Forestry Ecological EngineeringNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of ScienceNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Water Resources and EnvironmentSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Hydrology and Water Resources and ManagementChristian-Albrechts UniverstiyKielGermany

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