Implementation Plan

 This experiment will be performed in the Heihe River Basin, which is a typical inland river basin in northwest China located between 97.1° E-102.0° E and 37.7° N-42.7° N that covers an area of approximately 143,000 km2. This basin is characterized by its distinct cold and arid landscapes: glaciers, frozen soil, alpine meadow, forest, irrigated crops, riparian ecosystem, desert, and gobi desert are distributed from upstream to downstream, respectively. In the whole river basin, three key experimental areas (KEAs) are identified to conduct intensive and long-term observations. They are the cold region experimental area in the mountain cryosphere in the upper reaches, the artificial oasis experimental area in the middle reaches, and the natural oasis experimental area downstream.

(1) The cold region experimental area consists of the upstream of the main stream of the Heihe River (10,009 km2). Observation experiment will be performed at three scales, namely, the main stream basin, sub-basin (Babaohe River Basin) and watershed (Hulugou Catchment).

(2) The artificial oasis experimental area is located in an artificial oasis-riparian ecosystem-wetland-desert compound in the middle reaches of the Heihe River Basin. Typical irrigation districts, named Yingke and Daman, as well as Pingchuan, are selected as the foci experimental areas (FEAs) in which to perform the eco-hydrology experiments.

(3) The natural oasis experimental area is located in the Ejin Banner Oasis, which is downstream of the Heihe River Basin. The landscapes are composed of gobi desert, Populus euphratica, Tamarix and other arid region species, and terminal lakes. The core part of oasis and the regions extended to Ulantug in northwest direction will be selected as the FEA.

Within each KEA, the FEA, the experimental site (ES) and the elementary sampling plot (ESP) are designed following a coarse-to-fine resolution sequence to carry out multi-scale ground observations towards different scientific objectives.

In general, various field campaigns of HiWATER will be lasted from 2012 to 2015. Within this period, intensive observations will be orderly performed in each of the three KEAs. The HiWATER intensive observation period (IOP) will begin in April 2012. Besides, persistent observations period (POP) over the whole river basin will continue from 2013 to 2015 to automatically collect observations of hydrometeorological and eco-hydrological elements. Airborne missions will be mainly executed in summer 2012. 

 Figure 1  Experimental areas in HiWATER.



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