Spatial and Temporal Variability of Soil Moisture and Its Driving Factors in the Northern Agricultural Regions of China
Previous studies lacked long time series and high-quality soil moisture observations, and most of them focused on administrative districts, which paid less attention to the overall spatiotemporal assessment of soil moisture and its driving factors at the national scale. Therefore, this study used regression analysis and partial correlation analysis to reveal the spatial and temporal variability of soil moisture based on the measured data by oven drying method and corresponding daily meteorological data (temperature, wind speed, sunshine hours, relative humidity, precipitation, etc.) from 150 agro-meteorological stations in Northern China during 1980–2021. Specifically, the whole area was divided into five subregions, and the soil moisture of the growing season (April to October) in each of which was analyzed. The results of the study provide a scientific basis for strengthening agricultural management and promoting regional high-quality development. Naturally, the temporal and spatial distribution of soil moisture has a significant effect on the land–atmosphere water circulation and heat balance. Precise information on soil moisture can help improve the accuracy of seasonal climate and weather prediction. However, since the 21st century, regional differences in soil moisture changes emerged, especially the changes in precipitation patterns in China in recent years, which may have an impact on soil moisture, so there is an urgent need to clarify the latest evolutionary patterns and driving mechanisms of soil moisture in China.
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