Effect of snowmelt infiltration on groundwater recharge in a seasonal soil frost area: a case study in Northeast China

  • Xinqiang Du
  • Min Fang
  • Hang LvEmail author
  • Tingting Cheng
  • Peidong Hong
  • Chang Liu


The effect of spring snowmelt infiltration in a seasonal soil frost area on groundwater recharge was evaluated by systematically monitoring meteorological factors, soil temperature and humidity, groundwater table and temperature, electrical conductivity, and the value of δ18O in a small field site over a 2-year period. The variation of soil temperature and humidity, groundwater table during the freezing period, and the snowmelt period respectively, as well as their correspondence to the relevant environmental factors, and the influencing factors of the permeability of frozen layer were analyzed. The results showed that the evaluation of precipitation infiltration in seasonal soil frost areas should be divided into three stages: a non-freezing period, a freezing period, and a snowmelt period. Snow is the main form of precipitation during the freezing period, and groundwater cannot be recharged. During the snowmelt period of spring, the snow cover that accumulated during the freezing period infiltrates together with rainfall and has a significant effect on groundwater recharge. The general precipitation infiltration process occurs after the frozen soil thaws completely. These research results can improve the accuracy of groundwater recharge calculations for snowmelt infiltration in the seasonal soil frost area of Northeast China and provide a scientific basis for the evaluation and management of regional water resources.


Snowmelt infiltration Seasonal soil frost area Groundwater resources evaluation Frozen layer permeability 


Funding information

This work was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41472213, 41602077, 41702252) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (149194).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinqiang Du
    • 1
    • 2
  • Min Fang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hang Lv
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tingting Cheng
    • 1
  • Peidong Hong
    • 1
  • Chang Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Groundwater Resources and Environment, Ministry of EducationJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Jilin Provincial Key Laboratory of Water Resources and EnvironmentJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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