Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (8): 1102-1122.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1887-z

• Special Issue: Ecohydrology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Quantification of human and climate contributions to multi-dimensional hydrological alterations: A case study in the Upper Minjiang River, China

ZHANG Yuhang1(), YE Aizhong1,*(), YOU Jinjun2, JING Xiangyang3   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Institute of Land Surface System and Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
    3. POWERCHINA Chengdu Engineering Corporation Limited, Chengdu 611130, China
  • Received:2020-08-26 Accepted:2021-03-09 Online:2021-08-25 Published:2021-10-25
  • Contact: YE Aizhong;
  • About author:Zhang Yuhang (1994-), specialized in hydrometeorological ensemble forecast. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Natural Science Foundation of China(51879009);Natural Science Foundation of China(52079143);Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program(2019QZKK0405);National Key Research and Development Program of China(2018YFE0196000);National Key Research and Development Program of China(2017YFC0404405);Interdisciplinary Research Foundation of Beijing Normal University for the First-Year Doctoral Students(BNUXKJC1905);Independent Research Projects of POWERCHINA Chengdu Engineering Corporation Limited(P34516)


Dual factors of climate and human on the hydrological process are reflected not only in changes in the spatiotemporal distribution of water resource amounts but also in the various characteristics of river flow regimes. Isolating and quantifying their contributions to these hydrological alterations helps us to comprehensively understand the response mechanism and patterns of hydrological process to the two kinds of factors. Here we develop a general framework using hydrological model and 33 indicators to describe hydrological process and quantify the impact from climate and human. And we select the Upper Minjiang River (UMR) as a case to explore its feasibility. The results indicate that our approach successfully recognizes the characteristics of river flow regimes in different scenarios and quantitatively separates the climate and human contributions to multi-dimensional hydrological alterations. Among these indicators, 26 of 33 indicators decrease over the past half-century (1961-2012) in the UMR, with change rates ranging from 1.3% to 33.2%, and the human impacts are the dominant factor affecting hydrological processes, with an average relative contribution rate of 58.6%. Climate change causes an increase in most indicators, with an average relative contribution rate of 41.4%. Specifically, changes in precipitation and reservoir operation may play a considerable role in inducing these alterations. The findings in this study help us better understand the response mechanism of hydrological process under changing environment and is conducive to climate change adaptation, water resource planning and ecological construction.

Key words: hydrological alterations, Minjiang River Basin, quantitative assessment, climate change, direct human impacts