Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2012, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (5): 781-794.doi: 10.1007/s11442-012-0963-9

• Climate Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Runoff variation and its response to climate change in the Three Rivers Source Region

ZHANG Yongyong1, ZHANG Shifeng1, ZHAI Xiaoyan2, XIA Jun1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2011-12-26 Revised:2012-01-15 Online:2012-10-15 Published:2012-10-15


Runoff at the three time scales (non-flooding season, flooding season and annual period) was simulated and tested from 1958 to 2005 at Tangnaihai (Yellow River Source Region: YeSR), Zhimenda (Yangtze River Source Region: YaSR) and Changdu (Lancang River Source Region: LcSR) by hydrological modeling, trend detection and comparative analysis. Also, future runoff variations from 2010 to 2039 at the three outlets were analyzed in A1B and B1 scenarios of CSIRO and NCAR climate model and the impact of climate change was tested. The results showed that the annual and non-flooding season runoff decreased significantly in YeSR, which decreased the water discharge to the midstream and downstream of the Yellow River, and intensified the water shortage in the Yellow River Basin, but the other two regions were not statistically significant in the last 48 years. Compared with the runoff in baseline (1990s), the runoff in YeSR would decrease in the following 30 years (2010-2039), especially in the non-flooding season. Thus the water shortage in the midstream and downstream of the Yellow River Basin would be serious continuously. The runoff in YaSR would increase, especially in the flooding season, thus the flood control situation would be severe. The runoff in LcSR would also be greater than the current runoff, and the annual and flooding season runoff would not change significantly, while the runoff variation in the non-flooding season is uncertain. It would increase significantly in the B1 scenario of CSIRO model but decrease significantly in B1 scenario of NCAR model. Furthermore, the most sensitive region to climate change is YaSR, followed by YeSR and LcSR.

Key words: climate change, runoff variation, SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool), Mann-Kendall test, Three Rivers Source Region