Climatic Change

, Volume 114, Issue 3–4, pp 799–811 | Cite as

Observational evidence of the cooling effect of agricultural irrigation in Jilin, China

  • Xiufang Zhu
  • Shunlin Liang
  • YaoZhong Pan


China features the second largest irrigation area in the world. Several modeling studies on a global scale have shown the irrigation impact in China, but no direct observational evidence has been reported. In this paper, we evaluated the impact of irrigation on temperature in Jilin province, China, using meteorological and satellite observations. The results show that the temperature difference between highly and lightly irrigated sites is statistically significant and highly correlated to the effective irrigation area and crop sown area over the past 53 years. The magnitude of the difference in maximum air temperature was almost twice that of the difference in minimum air temperature. The linear regression coefficient of the time series difference in maximum air temperature was more than three times that of the minimum air temperature. Moreover, both meteorological and satellite observations show that the temperature difference is amplified during drier years. The difference in the magnitude of daytime land surface temperature (LST), between areas with irrigation percentages of more than 50 and less than 50, is as high as 2.7 K during the driest year. Overall, this study may provide evidence that an irrigation cooling effect exists in China.


Standardize Precipitation Index Land Surface Temperature Jilin Province National Land Cover Dataset International Water Management Institute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Crop sown area


The growing season mean maximum temperatures difference between HIP and LIP (HIP minus LIP)


The growing season mean minimum temperatures difference between HIP and LIP (HIP minus LIP)


The growing season average mean temperatures difference between HIP and LIP (HIP minus LIP)


Durbin-Watson method


Energy consumption


Effective irrigation area

FAO map

The global irrigation map derived by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO MAP)


The global irrigated area map generated by IWMI


The global map of rainfed cropland areas generated by IWMI


Observation sites with a relatively high irrigation percentage


The International Water Management Institute


Observation sites with a relatively low irrigation percentage


Land surface temperature


The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer


MODIS/Aqua Land Surface Temperature/Emissivity Monthly L3 Global 0.05 Deg CMG products


National Land Cover Dataset of China


Standard coal equivalents


The standard precipitation index


The standard precipitation index for a 12 month rainfall total


urbanization ratio



This study is partially funded by NASA and NOAA grants. The leading author is also funded by the Chinese Scholarship Program. We also would like to thank the reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of GeographyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.The college of Resources Science and TechnologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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