Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2012, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (5): 895-905.doi: 10.1007/s11442-012-0971-9

• Hydrology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Assessing the impacts of climate variability and human activities on streamflow in the water source area of Baiyangdian Lake

HU Shanshan1,2, LIU Changming1,3, ZHENG Hongxing1, WANG Zhonggen1, YU Jingjie1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2011-12-02 Revised:2011-12-30 Online:2012-10-15 Published:2012-10-15

Abstract:

As the largest wetland in the North China Plain (NCP), the Baiyangdian Lake plays an important role in maintaining water balance and ecological health of NCP. In the past few decades, the decreasing streamflow in the Baiyangdian Basin associated with climate variability and human activities has caused a series of water and eco-environmental issues. In this study, we quantified the impacts of climate variability and human activities on streamflow in the water source area of the Baiyangdian Lake, based on analyses of hydrologic changes of the upper Tanghe river catchment (a sub-basin of the Baiyangdian Basin) from 1960 to 2008. Climate elasticity method and hydrological modeling method were used to distinguish the effects of climate variability and human activities. The results showed that the annual streamflow decreased significantly (P>0.05) by 1.7 mm/a and an abrupt change was identified around the year 1980. The quantification results indicated that climate variations accounted for 38%-40% of decreased streamflow, while human activities accounted for 60%-62%. Therefore, the effect of human activities played a dominant role on the decline of the streamflow in the water source area of the Baiyangdian Lake. To keep the ecosystem health of the Baiyangdian Lake, we suggest that minimum ecological water demand and integrated watershed management should be guaranteed in the future.

Key words: climate variability, human activities, climate elasticity, hydrological model, Baiyangdian Lake, Tanghe River