Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Yongqiang Liu; Lu Hao; Decheng Zhou; Cen Pan; Peilong Liu; Zhe Xiong; Ge Sun
    Date: 2019
    Source: Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (7.0 MB)


    Aridity indices have been widely used in climate classification. However, there is not enough evidence for
    their ability in identifying the multiple climate types in areas with complex topography and landscape, especially in those
    areas with a transition climate. This study compares a traditional meteorological aridity index (AI), defined as the ratio
    of precipitation (P) to potential evapotranspiration (PET), with a hydrological aridity index, the evaporative stress index
    (ESI) defined as the ratio of actual evapotranspiration (AET) to PET in the Heihe River Basin (HRB) of arid northwestern
    China. PET was estimated using the Penman–Monteith and Hamon methods. The aridity indices were calculated using
    the high-resolution climate data simulated with a regional climate model for the period of 1980–2010. The climate classified
    by AI shows a climate type for the upper basin and a second type for the middle and lower basin, while three different
    climate types are found using ESI, each for one river basin, indicating that only ESI is able to identify a transition climate
    zone in the middle basin. The difference between the two indices is also seen in the interannual variability and extreme
    dry/wet events. The magnitude of variability in the middle basin is close to that in the lower basin for AI, but different
    for ESI. AI had a larger magnitude of the relative interannual variability and a greater decreasing rate from 1980 to 2010
    than ESI, suggesting the role of local hydrological processes in moderating extreme climate events. Thus, the hydrological
    aridity index is better than the meteorological aridity index for climate classification in the arid Heihe River Basin.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Liu, Yongqiang; Hao, Lu; Zhou, Decheng; Pan, Cen; Liu, Peilong; Xiong, Zhe; Sun, Ge. 2019. Identifying a transition climate zone in an arid river basin using the evaporative stress index. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. 19(10): 2281-2294.


    Google Scholar

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page