Dynamic response of land–atmosphere-coupling parameters to precipitation in the sparse-vegetated Asian summer monsoon transition zone

  • Qiang Zhang
  • Zesu YangEmail author
  • Xiaocui Hao
  • Hongyu Li
Original Article


Land–atmosphere-coupling parameters usually relate to particular climatic conditions and seldom consider the influence of the inter-annual variability of precipitation. This results in large uncertainty in the estimation of land-surface physical variables. In the current study, observed data for five land–atmosphere-coupling parameters (surface albedo, soil thermal conductivity, aerodynamic roughness length, and the bulk transfer coefficients of momentum and sensible heat) were analysed and related to the inter-annual variability of precipitation on the Loess Plateau, China, from April 2006 to March 2013. This is an area with sparse vegetation. The results demonstrate that the land–atmosphere-coupling parameters are very sensitive to the inter-annual variability of precipitation. The surface albedo increased with increasing duration of snow cover. The other four parameters increased when annual effective precipitation (yearly sum of daily rainfall > 4 mm or daily snowfall > 0.1 mm) increased, and the sensitivity decreased when annual effective precipitation increased. Empirical relations between the five land–atmosphere-coupling parameters and the inter-annual variability of precipitation were derived via regression, with R2 values of 0.67, 0.85, 0.93, 0.99, and 0.95, respectively. The land-surface physical variables calculated with dynamic land–atmosphere-coupling parameters (considering the inter-annual variability of precipitation) were much closer to the observed data than those calculated with static land–atmosphere-coupling parameters. The relative error was reduced by > 80% in years with low precipitation. This indicates that the inter-annual variability of precipitation has a significant impact on the land-surface physical variables. The results demonstrate that land–atmosphere-coupling parameters, which take into account inter-annual variability of precipitation, provide a more realistic representation of the land surface.


Land–atmosphere-coupling parameters Inter-annual variability of precipitation Land-surface physical variables Sparse vegetation 



We thank SACOL for providing the study data. This work was jointly supported by the Major Program of National Nature Science Foundation of China (41630426), Arid Found (IAM201701) and the Scientific Research Foundation of Chengdu University of Information Technology (KYTZ201734).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Reducing Disaster of Gansu Province, Key Open Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Disaster Reduction of CMAInstitute of Arid Meteorology, CMALanzhouChina
  2. 2.Plateau Atmosphere and Environment Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, College of Atmospheric SciencesChengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.Hebei Climate Center, Hebei Provincial Meteorological Administration, CMAShijiazhuangChina

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