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Spatial variability and temporal stability of actual evapotranspiration on a hillslope of the Chinese Loess Plateau

Abstract

Actual evapotranspiration (ETa) is a key component of water balance. This study aimed to investigate the spatial variability and time stability of ETa along a hillslope and to analyze the key factors that control the spatiotemporal variability of ETa. The potential evaporation, surface runoff, and 0–480 cm soil water profile were measured along a 243 m long transect on a hillslope of the Loess Plateau during the normal (2015) and wet (2016) water years. ETa was calculated using water balance equation. Results indicated that increasing precipitation during the wet water year did not alter the spatial pattern of ETa along the hillslope; time stability analysis showed that a location with high time stability of ETa could be used to estimate the mean ETa of the hillslope. Time stability of ETa was positively correlated with elevation (P<0.05), indicating that, on a hillslope in a semi-arid area, elevation was the primary factor influencing the time stability of ETa.

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Acknowledgements

This research was financially supported by the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities of China (D18013), the independent subject of State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Qinghai University, China (2019-ZZ-05), the Project of Qinghai Science & Technology Department (2019-ZJ-Y01), the Natural Science Foundation of Qinghai Province, China (2020-ZJ-967Q), the Thousand High Innovative Talents Program of Qinghai Province (2019), and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University, Ministry of Education, China (IRT_17R62). The authors would also like to thank the staff of Shenmu Erosion and Environment Station of the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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Correspondence to Mingbin Huang.

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Zhang, Y., Huang, M. Spatial variability and temporal stability of actual evapotranspiration on a hillslope of the Chinese Loess Plateau. J. Arid Land 13, 189–204 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0093-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0093-1

Keywords

  • relative difference
  • water balance
  • surface runoff
  • soil texture
  • semi-arid areas