Environmental Factors Controls on Soil Water-Heat in the Qilian Mountains, China: A Quantitative Analysis
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College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin/Gansu Qilian Mountains Eco-Environment Research Center, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Zongxing Li   

Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Submission date: 2022-11-09
Final revision date: 2023-01-13
Acceptance date: 2023-01-26
Online publication date: 2023-02-27
Publication date: 2023-04-14
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2023;32(3):2269–2280
Soil water-heat plays a significant role in land surface processes and has an impact on almost all ecosystem processes and functions practically. However, the controls of soil water-heat by environmental factors remain to be elucidated. In this study, relationships of soil water-heat with environmental factors in the Qilian Mountains, China were quantified using data obtained from a regional soil survey during the summer of 2019. Our results showed that soil water content (SWC) depicted a trend of being high in the east and low in the west, and soil temperature (ST) showed an opposite trend. The PLSPM suggested that topography, climate, vegetation, and soil properties had a similar control on SWC, with total effect values of 0.41, -0.34, 0.33, and -0.47, respectively. Soil properties and vegetation directly influenced SWC, topography indirectly influenced SWC by altering climate, and climate directly influenced SWC and indirectly through vegetation. Conversely, the factor controlling ST was topography (total effects = 0.39), which influenced ST directly and positively. The VPA indicated that the combination of environmental variables explained 64.26% of the variation in SWC and 27.69% of the variation in ST.