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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-441
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-441
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Sep 2020

14 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Impacts of land use/cover change and reforestation on summer rainfall for the Yangtze River Basin

Wei Li1,2, Lu Li3, Jie Chen1,2, Qian Lin1,2, and Hua Chen1,2 Wei Li et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, China
  • 2Hubei Key Laboratory of Water System Science for Sponge City Construction, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, China
  • 3NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, 5238, Norway

Abstract. Land use and cover has been significantly changed all around the world during the last decade. In particular, the Returning Farmland to Forest Program (RFFP) have resulted in significant changes in regional land use and cover, especially in China. The land use and cover change (LUCC) may lead to the change in regional climate. In this study, we take the Yangtze river basin as a case study and analyze the impacts of LUCC and reforestation on summer rainfall amount and extremes based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Firstly, two observed land use and cover scenarios (1990 and 2010) were chosen to investigate the impacts of LUCC on the summer rainfall during the last decade. Secondly, two hypothetical reforestation scenarios (i.e., scenarios of 20 % and 50 % cropland changed to be forest) were taken based on the control year of 2010 to test the sensitivity of summer rainfall (amount and extremes) to reforestation. The results showed that LUCC between 1990 and 2010 decreased average summer rainfall, while increased extreme summer daily rainfall in the Yangtze River basin. The extreme summer daily rainfall increased up to 50 mm, which was mainly observed in the midstream and downstream. Reforestation could increase summer rainfall amount and extremes, and the effects were more pronounced at the local scale where suffered reforestation than at the whole basin. Moreover, the effects of reforestation were influenced by the reforestation proportion. In this study, the average summer rainfall increased more for the scenario of 20 % croplands changed to forests than that for the scenario of 50 %, while the high-intensity short-duration rainfall increased more for the scenario of 50 % croplands changed to forests than that for the scenario of 20 %. Although a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of LUCC on summer rainfall amount and extremes was conducted, further studies are needed to better investigate the uncertainty.

Wei Li et al.

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Wei Li et al.

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Short summary
Reforestation can influence climate, but the sensitivity of summer rainfall to reforestation is rarely investigated. We take two reforestation scenarios to assess the impacts of reforestation on summer rainfall under different reforestation proportions and explore the potential mechanisms. This study concludes that reforestation increases summer rainfall amount and extremes through thermodynamics process, and different reforestation proportions have different effects on summer rainfall.
Reforestation can influence climate, but the sensitivity of summer rainfall to reforestation is...
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