Climate Effects on Recharge and Evolution of Natural Water Resources in middle-latitude Watersheds Under Arid Climate
This paper analyzes the physico-chemical characteristics of natural waters in middle-latitude drainage systems of central Asia, including the climatic, lithological and geomorphological conditions in which water flows and resides. This analysis allowed the identification of the geological evolution and recharge mechanism of the water resources in an arid environment. The studied waters at various sites are different in mineralization but similar to the majority of large rivers on earth, which are typically alkaline. However, no Cl-dominated water type occurs in the study area, indicating that these natural waters are still at an early stage of evolution. The regolith and geomorphological parameters controlling ground-surface temperature may play a large role in rock weathering regime and so in the geological evolution of water. Three main morphological and hydrological units are reflected in water physico-chemistry: the montane areas (recharge area) with silicate and carbonate weathering, the piedmonts and sedimentary platform (runoff area) with carbonate weathering, and the desert plains (discharge area) with evaporite dissolution. Climate influences the salinization of natural waters substantially. Direct recharge from seasonal snow and meltwater and infiltration of rainfall into the ground are thought to be significant recharge processes for natural waters in the study area, while recharge from potential deep groundwater may be much less important. The chemistry of lakes is generally consistent with those of large lakes in the world, but the enrichment of the ions in the lakes has been caused mainly by evaporation, rather than through the quality of the recharged water.
KeywordsNatural water Geological evolution Recharge mechanism Arid environment Climatic effect Central Asia
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 41371060, 41271049) and the Kezhen Young Talent Project of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS (Grant No.: 2013RC101).
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