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E3 Journal of Environmental Research and Management

E3 Journal of Environmental Research and Management Vol. 4 (8) pp. 0310-0317, September 2013; © E3 Journals; ISSN 2141-7466

Human impact on climate and eco-hydrological systems in the Badain Jaran desert in northwest China

HC Zhang 1 * , FQ Chang 1 , GJ Chen 1 , Q Zhen 1 , YF Cai 1 , Huayong Li 1
1 Key Laboratory of Plateau Lake Ecology and Global Change, College of Tourism and Geography, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming Chenggong 650500, China
*Corresponding Author E-mail:
Accepted 3 September 2013


The Badain Jaran Desert in northwest China has the worlds largest stationary sand dunes and an impressive lake–dune system. During last decades, many lakes in the Badain Jaran Desert have disappeared and the process is still accelerating. Using remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) methods, we identified 132 lakes from satellite images taken in 1987 in the area between 101.79 – 102.58E and 39.69– 40.19N, but this number had fallen to 68 in 2006. The rapid decrease of lake numbers and concurrent shrinking of the lake area have been attributed to groundwater reductions in the drainage areas as a result of rapid socioeconomic changes, including urbanization, irrigation, and water diversion, along with an overall population increase. The area also show an exaggerated warming from 1960 to 2006, imply the arid desert area in NW China possibly response quickly and contribute a great deal to human induced global warming. The human-induced runoff water redistribution and lake disappearance in the Gobi-desert area not only impact on the climate and eco-hydrological equilibrium today, but also resulted abandon of the compacted town in the oasis in 1732 and the death of vast area of the Popular Diversifolia forest in Ejina basin.

Keywords: human impact, climate, eco-hydrological systems, desert, northwestern China

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