On the Origin of Deep Soil Water Infiltration in the Arid Sandy Region of China Academic Article uri icon


  • Soil water moisture is one of the most important influencing factors in the fragile ecosystems in arid sandy regions, and it serves as a bridge connecting the rainfall and groundwater, two important water sources in arid sandy regions. The hydrological process of an arid sandy region occurs sporadically and is highly non-uniform temporally, making it difficult to monitor and predict. The deep soil recharge (DSR) at a sufficiently deep soil layer (usually greater than 200 cm below ground surface) is an important indicator for groundwater recharge in the arid sandy region, and thus the quantitative determination of DSR is of great significance to the evaluation of water resources and the study of water balance in the arid sandy region. Due to the large amount of evaporation, small amount of precipitation, and the long term of the frozen-soil period in the winter and spring, the monitoring of infiltration and determination of DSR in the arid sandy region become challenging. This study selects the Ulanbuh desert plots in northern China to monitor DSR, precipitation and seasonal frozen soil thickness change, and reaches the following conclusions: Even though the annual precipitation is only 48.2 mm in the arid sandy region, DSR will still occur and replenish groundwater. The daily threshold of precipitation for generating measurable DSR is lower than 4 mm, where the DSR value is defined as the downward flux over a unit area per day hereinafter. DSR continues during the frozen period of the winter and spring seasons, and it is generated from water vapor transport and condensation in the deep sandy layer. Summer rainstorms do no show an obvious correlation with DSR, which is unexpected. This study reveals the characteristics of the dynamic water resources movement and transformation in the arid sandy area in Ulanbuh Desert and can serve as an important guideline for the quantitative assessment of water resources in arid sandy regions.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Cheng, Y., Yang, W., Zhan, H., Jiang, Q., Shi, M., & Wang, Y.

complete list of authors

  • Cheng, Yiben||Yang, Wenbin||Zhan, Hongbin||Jiang, Qunou||Shi, Mingchang||Wang, Yunqi

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM