Little information is available on horizontal precipitation in forest land in semi-humid climate regions. In this study, the quantity and duration of horizontal precipitation were investigated using the high precision weighing lysimeter system in the mountainous areas of northern China during the experiment year 2011 and 2012. The purpose of this study was to better understand the formation mechanisms of horizontal precipitation in the semi-humid climate region. The results showed that hourly values of horizontal precipitation distributed between 0 and 0.1 mm, and that the one-night values distributed between 0.2 and 0.4 mm. The number of days with horizontal precipitation accounted for about 45% of the whole year. The average monthly amount of horizontal precipitation was 4.5 mm in the non-growing season, while it was a mere 1.6 mm in the growing season. The total amount of horizontal precipitation in the year was about 33 mm. Horizontal precipitation represented about 4.61% and 4.23% of the annual precipitation in 2011 and 2012. During the non-growing season, water vapor absorbed by the soil was greater than canopy and soil condensation, not only in terms of frequency, but also in the cumulated quantity. On a typical day, the canopy and soil condensation was 0.07 mm, accounting for 31.81% of total quantity of horizontal precipitation (0.22 mm). Air temperature, soil temperature and wind speed were negatively correlated with the quantity and duration of horizontal precipitation. This research could provide information for a better understanding of the ecological significance of horizontal precipitation in the semi-humid climate region in northern China.
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