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Keywords:

  • vegetation change;
  • climate response;
  • Northwest Hetao Plain

Abstract

Considering the ‘Green Great Wall’ project and future climate change, the vegetation in the Northwest Hetao Plain (NWHP) of China is expected to undergo considerable changes. In this study, the climatic response to prescribed changes in vegetation is investigated using the Weather Research and Forecasting model. When the vegetation is changed from ‘bare or sparsely vegetated’ category to ‘grassland’ in the NWHP, the climate shows both local and remote responses. Locally, the temperature increases in the winter but decreases in the summer. The precipitation level increases substantially in the summer while increases slightly in the winter, which is mainly caused by the increase in the amount of water-vapour and circulation adjustment. Additionally, atmospheric circulation anomalies also lead to remote circulation responses, including a decrease in precipitation over Central North China and an increase in precipitation over Central and South China. The results of this study bring to light the local and remote climatic responses to changes in vegetation in the NWHP using a state-of-the-art regional climate model. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society