Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2012, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (5): 906-918.doi: 10.1007/s11442-012-0972-8

• Hydrology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Quantitative estimation of the impact of precipitation and human activities on runoff change of the Huangfuchuan River Basin

WANG Suiji, YAN Yunxia, YAN Ming, ZHAO Xiaokun   

  1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2011-12-11 Revised:2012-02-10 Online:2012-10-15 Published:2012-10-15


The runoff of some rivers in the world especially in the arid and semi-arid areas has decreased remarkably with global or regional climate change and enhanced human activities. The runoff decrease in the arid and semi-arid areas of northern China has brought severe problems in livelihoods and ecology. To reveal the variation characteristics, trends of runoff and their influencing factors have been important scientific issues for drainage basin management. The objective of this study was to analyze the variation trends of the runoff and quantitatively assess the contributions of precipitation and human activities to the runoff change in the Huangfuchuan River Basin based on the measured data in 1960-2008. Two inflection points (turning years) of 1979 and 1998 for the accumulative runoff change, and one inflection point of 1979 for the accumulative precipitation change were identified using the methods of accumulative anomaly analysis. The linear relationships between year and accumulative runoff in 1960-1979, 1980-1997 and 1998-2008 and between year and accumulative precipitation in 1960-1979 and 1980-2008 were fitted. A new method of slope change ratio of accumulative quantity (SCRAQ) was put forward and used in this study to calculate the contributions of different factors to the runoff change. Taking 1960-1979 as the base period, the contribution rate of the precipitation and human activities to the decreased runoff was 36.43% and 63.57% in 1980-1997, and 16.81% and 83.19% in 1998-2008, respectively. The results will play an important role in the drainage basin management. Moreover, the new method of SCRAQ can be applied in the quantitative evaluation of runoff change and impacts by different factors in the river basin of arid and semi-arid areas.

Key words: runoff, precipitation, variation trend, human activities, contribution rate, Huangfuchuan River Basin