Precipitation on China's Loess Plateau may increase: study

Science 26

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BEIJING, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers found that the precipitation on the Loess Plateau in northern China may continue to increase in the next few years.

Researchers from the Institute of Earth Environment under the Chinese Academy of Sciences used tree-ring width data obtained from central and northern Lyuliang Mountains on the Loess Plateau to reconstruct the precipitation change database from 1773 to 2020, successfully capturing hydroclimate changes on the plateau.

They discovered that the study area in the 1920s and 2010s was the driest and wettest, respectively, and the 19th century was relatively wet, whereas the 20th century was dry, said a paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

The study also showed that although the precipitation in the study area showed a decreasing trend in the second half of the 20th century, this trend reversed in the early 2000s. The region has gradually become wet in recent years, with 2014-2020 being the second-wettest period in the past 250 years.

"According to the change cycle, precipitation in the study area may continue to increase in the next few years," said Cai Qiufang, a researcher from the institute.

"But it should also be prevented from becoming arid like the aridity in the second half of the 20th century and the period from the 1890s to 1920s," Cai added.

Experts said that the study can improve people's understanding of the spatial-temporal patterns of hydroclimate change on China's Loess Plateau and provide data for ecological protection and decision-making in the Yellow River basin.

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