Impacts of groundwater depth on regional scale soil gleyization under changing climate in the Poyang Lake Basin, China

Yun Yang, Zhenchen Wang, Yueqing Xie, Behzad Ataie-Ashtiani, Craig T. Simmons, Qiankun Luo, Gan Chen, Qi Zhang, Jianfeng Wu, Jinguo Wang, Jichun Wu

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Various natural and anthropogenic factors affect the formation of gleyed soil. It is a major challenge to identify the key hazard factors and evaluate the dynamic evolutionary process of soil gleyization at a regional scale under future climate change. This study addressed this complex challenge based on regional groundwater modelling for a typical agriculture region located in the Ganjiang River Delta (GRD) of Poyang Lake Basin, China. We first implemented in-situ soil sampling analysis and column experiments under different water depths to examine the statistical relationship between groundwater depth (GD) and gleyization indexes including active reducing substance, ferrous iron content, and redox potential. Subsequently, a three-dimensional groundwater flow numerical model for the GRD was established to evaluate the impacts of the historical average level and future climate change on vadose saturation and soil gleyization (averaged over 2016–2050) in the irrigated farmland. Three climate change scenarios associated with carbon dioxide emission (A1B, A2, and B1) were predicted by the ECHAM5 global circulation model published in IPCC Assessment Report (2007). The ECHAM5 outputs were applied to quantify the variation of groundwater level and to identify the potential maximum gleyed zones affected by the changes of meteorological and hydrological conditions. The results of this study indicate that GD is an indirect indicator for predicting the gradation of soil gleyization at the regional scale, and that the GRD will suffer considerable soil gleyization by 2050 due to fluctuations of the water table induced by future climate changes. Compared with the annually average condition, the climate scenario B1 will probably exacerbate soil gleyization with an 8.8% increase in total gleyed area in GRD. On average, the highly gleyed areas will increase in area by 29.7 km 2 , mainly on the riverside area, and the medium-slightly gleyed area will increase by 19.2 km 2 in the middle region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-516
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Climate change
  • Groundwater depth
  • Numerical modeling
  • Poyang Lake
  • Soil gleyization


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