Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Ground Surface Temperature: A Regional Modeling Study in the North China Plain

Chen Yang, Hong Yi Li, Yilin Fang, Chixiao Cui, Tianye Wang, Chunmiao Zheng, L. Ruby Leung, Reed M. Maxwell, You Kuan Zhang, Xiaofan Yang

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14 Scopus citations


Overexploitation of groundwater (GW) in the North China Plain (NCP) since the 1960s has many environmental consequences. However, mechanistic understanding of this perturbation remains limited, particularly at the regional scale. In this study, the coupled ParFlow.CLM model representing subsurface and land surface processes and their interactions was applied in the NCP at high spatiotemporal resolutions. The model was validated using the water and energy fluxes reported in previous studies and from the JRA-55 reanalysis. Numerical experiments were designed to examine the impacts of GW pumping and irrigation on the ground surface temperature (GST). Results show significant effects of GW pumping on GST in the NCP. Generally, the subsurface acts as a buffer to temporal variations in heat fluxes at the land surface, but long-term pumping can gradually weaken this buffer, leading to increases in the spatiotemporal variability of GST, as exemplified by hotter summers and colder winters. Considering that changes of water table depth (WTD) can significantly affect land surface heat fluxes when WTD ranges roughly between 0.01 and 10 m, the 0.5-m/yr increase of WTD simulated by the model due to pumping can continue to increase the regional averaged WTD and hence, perturb GST for about 20 years after GW pumping began in the NCP, before WTD exceeds 10 m. The variations of GST are expected to increase faster initially and gradually slow down due to the nonlinear behaviors of GST with WTD. The findings from this study in the NCP may also have implications for other regions with GW depletion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019JD031764
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 16 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


  • ParFlow.CLM
  • ground surface temperature
  • groundwater pumping
  • integrated hydrologic modeling
  • the North China Plain


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