Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (7): 985-1000.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1517-6

• Special Issue: Geopolitical Environment Simulation on the Belt and Road Region • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Influences of environmental changes on water storage variations in Central Asia

Weijie HU1,3(), Hailong LIU2,*(), Anming BAO1, M. El-Tantawi Attia1,4   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
    2. School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
    3. CAS Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Urumqi 830011, China
    4. Institute of African Research and Studies, Cairo University, Giza 12613, Egypt
  • Received:2017-07-24 Online:2018-07-20 Published:2018-07-20
  • Contact: Hailong LIU;
  • About author:

    Author: Hu Weijie (1990-), Research Intern, specialized in hydrology and water resources. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.51569027;No.41371419;International Partnership Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.131551KYSB20160002;Special Institute Main Service Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.TSS-2015-014-FW-1-2


The spatio-temporal pattern of the global water resource has significantly changed with climate change and intensified human activities. The regional economy and ecological environment are highly affected by terrestrial water storage (TWS), especially in arid areas. To investigate the variation of TWS and its influencing factors under changing environments, the response relationships between TWS and changing environments (climate change and human activities) in Central Asia have been analyzed based on the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data, Climatic Research Unit (CRU) climate data and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing data products (MOD16A2, MOD13A3 and MCD12Q1) from 2003 to 2013. The slope and Pearson correlation analysis methods were used. Results indicate that: (1) TWS in about 77 % of the study area has decreased from 2003 to 2013. The total change volume of TWS is about 2915.6 × 108 m3. The areas of decreased TWS are mainly distributed in the middle of Central Asia, while the areas of increased TWS are concentrated in the middle-altitude regions of the Kazakhstan hills and Tarim Basin. (2) TWS in about 5.91% of areas, mainly distributed in the mountain and piedmont zones, is significantly positively correlated with precipitation, while only 3.78% of areas show significant correlation between TWS and temperature. If the response time was delayed by three months, there would be a very good correlation between temperature and TWS. (3) There is a significantly positive relationship between TWS and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in 13.35% of the study area. (4) The area of significantly positive correlation between TWS and evapotranspiration is about 31.87%, mainly situated in mountainous areas and northwestern Kazakhstan. The reduction of regional TWS is related to precipitation more than evaporation. Increasing farmland area may explain why some areas show increasing precipitation and decreasing evapotranspiration. (5) The influences of land use on TWS are still not very clear. This study could provide scientific data useful for the estimation of changes in TWS with climate change and human activities.

Key words: terrestrial water storage, Central Asia, climate change, land use