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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-305
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-305
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Dec 2018

Research article | 17 Dec 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Research on Occurrence and Development of Pasture Drought Events in Alpine Grassland using the Drought Threshold

Tiaofeng Zhang1,2, Lin Li3, Hongbin Xiao4, and Hongmei Li1 Tiaofeng Zhang et al.
  • 1Qinghai Climate Center, Xining, 810000, PR China
  • 2College of Atmospheric Science, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, PR China
  • 3Weather Modification Office of Qinghai Province, Xining, 810000, PR China
  • 4Qinghai Institute of Meteorological Science, Xining, 810000, PR China

Abstract. Pasture is vital to livestock husbandry development in Qinghai and even in North China. Drought is the primary meteorological disaster that affects pasture, but insufficient soil moisture is the most prominent cause of pasture drought. Timely and accurate determination of the soil moisture threshold of pasture is important for objective recognition and monitoring of the occurrence and development of pasture drought. This study aims at investigating pasture responses to soil drought as well as quantitative expression of soil drought degree and drought threshold. Test plots were selected from the pasture test station. Five testing groups were set according to coverage rate (0–100 %) at the initiation the pasture growth period. The impacts of profile moisture characteristics, drought threshold, and precipitation on duration of pasture drought were studied. Research results have demonstrated that moisture in the soil profile below 20 cm decreases slightly throughout drought events in alpine grassland. Changes of soil moisture in the 0–20 cm layer can generally reflect drought stress of the pasture. In the process of a drought event, the relationship between soil water storage and cumulative relative water loss can be expressed via a logarithmic linear equation. Quantitative expression of drought degree in grasslands can be realized by transforming the slope of this equation into the index D with an interval of [0, 1]. The occurrence rates of mild drought,moderate drought, and severe drought were 0.36, 0.45, and 0.70, respectively. The duration of severe drought was closely related with initial soil moisture. The relationship between duration of drought and the necessary minimum precipitation can be expressed by an exponential equation. Values of the D index can express soil drought intensity and pasture drought intensity. The durations for different grades of drought events were correlated with both initial soil moisture and previous precipitation. The conclusions of this study can provide scientific references for the objective understanding onoccurrence, development, monitoring, and early warning of pasture drought.

Tiaofeng Zhang et al.
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Short summary
Pasture is vital to livestock husbandry development in Qinghai and even in North China. Insufficient soil moisture is the most prominent cause of pasture drought. This study aims at investigating pasture responses to soil drought as well as quantitative expression of soil drought degree and drought threshold. Test plots were selected from the pasture test station. Five testing groups were set according to coverage rate (0–100 %) at the initiation the pasture growth period.
Pasture is vital to livestock husbandry development in Qinghai and even in North China....
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