A 700-year history of groundwater recharge in the drylands of NW China

John B. Gates, W. Mike Edmunds, Jinzhu Ma, Paul R. Sheppard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


A 700-year semi-quantitative history of diffuse groundwater recharge in the Badain Jaran Desert (Inner Mongolia) is proposed on the basis of solute data from multiple unsaturated zone groundwater profiles using mass balance of chloride to establish recharge rates and profile chronologies. Four relatively humid (1330-1430, 1500-1620, 1700-1780 and 1950-1990) and three relatively arid phases (1430-1500, 1620-1700 and 1900-1950) are discernable across the profiles. The recharge history broadly reflects multidecadal to centurial timescale precipitation changes in the northern Tibetan Plateau and suggests that variations in East Asian Summer Monsoon intensity affect desert recharge rates. Uncertainties in the records owing to assumptions about the Cl inputs are examined by comparing deterministic and stochastic Cl input scenarios. Such records are valuable for assessing spatial aspects of climate changes in the region, as well as for informing sustainable water resource management strategies for northwestern China's drylands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1054
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Badain Jaran
  • China
  • Chloride
  • Groundwater
  • Late Holocene
  • Monsoon
  • Recharge
  • Unsaturated zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Archaeology
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'A 700-year history of groundwater recharge in the drylands of NW China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this