High-resolution simulation and validation of soil moisture in the arid region of Northwest China

Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 21;9(1):17227. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52923-x.


Soil moisture plays an important role in land-atmosphere interactions, agricultural drought monitoring, and water resource management, particularly across arid regions. However, it is challenging to simulate soil moisture of high spatial resolution and to evaluate soil moisture at fine spatial resolution in arid regions in Northwest China due to considerable uncertainties in forcing data and limited in situ measurements. Then, the data set was used to produce the 1 km high-resolution atmospheric forcing datasets and to drive the Community Land Model version 3.5 (CLM3.5) for simulating spatiotemporally continuous surface soil moisture. The capabilities of soil moisture simulation using CLM3.5 forced by the XJLDAS-driven field were validated against data obtained at three soil layers (0-10, 0-20, and 0-50 cm) from 54 soil moisture stations in Xinjiang. Results show that the simulated soil moisture agreed well with the observations [CORR > 0.952], and the intra-annual soil moisture in Xinjiang gradually increased during May through August. The main factors that affect changes in soil moisture across the study region were precipitation and snowmelt. The overall finding of this study is that an XJLDAS, high-resolution forcing data driven CLM3.5 can be used to generate accurate and continuous soil moisture of high resolution (1km) in Xinjiang. This study can help understand the spatiotemporal features of the soil moisture, and provide important input for hydrological studies and agricultural water resources management over the arid region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't