Atmospheric Vapor Impact on Desert Vegetation and Desert Ecohydrological System. Academic Article uri icon


  • The ability of plants to absorb unsaturated atmospheric water vapor is a controversial topic. To study how vegetation in arid areas survives under limited water resources, this study uses Tamarisk in the Ulan Buh Desert of China as an example. The in-situ observation of a newly designed Lysimeter and sap flow meter system were used to monitor the precipitation infiltration and the utilization efficiency of Tamarisk of atmospheric vapor. The results show that the annual precipitation of 84 mm in arid areas could still result in deep soil recharge (DSR) with a recharge rate of 5 mm/year. Furthermore, DSR is detectable even in the winter, and the 5-year average DSR was 5.77% of the annual precipitation. It appears that the small precipitation events are critically important for the survival of Tamarisk. When the atmospheric relative humidity reaches 70%, Tamarisk leaves can absorb the unsaturated atmospheric vapor, which accounts for 13.2% of the annual precipitation amount. To adapt to the arid environment, Tamarisk can harvest its water supply from several sources including atmospheric vapor and micro-precipitation events (whose precipitation is below the measurement limit of 0.2 mm of the precipitation gauge) and can still permit a certain amount of recharge to replenish the deep soil moisture. Such an ecohydrological dynamic is of great significance to desert vegetation.

published proceedings

  • Plants (Basel)

author list (cited authors)

  • Xin, Z., Feng, W., Zhan, H., Bai, X., Yang, W., Cheng, Y., & Wu, X.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Xin, Zhiming||Feng, Wei||Zhan, Hongbin||Bai, Xuying||Yang, Wenbin||Cheng, Yiben||Wu, Xiuqin

publication date

  • January 2023


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