Climate and Environmental Change

The response of annual runoff to the height change of the summertime 0℃ level over Xinjiang

  • 1. Institute of Desert Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830002, China;
    2. Urumqi Meteorological Bureau, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830002, China

Received date: 2010-01-23

  Revised date: 2010-04-25

  Online published: 2010-12-15

Supported by

Special Fund for Social Public Good Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology, No.IDM200603; National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2010CB951001; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41075050, No.40775019; No.40875010


According to climate features and river runoff conditions, Xinjiang could be divided into three research areas: The Altay-Tacheng region, the Tianshan Mountain region and the northern slope of the Kunlun Mountains. Utilizing daily observations from 12 sounding stations and the annual runoff dataset from 34 hydrographical stations in Xinjiang for the period 1960–2002, the variance of the summertime 0℃ level height and the changing trends of river runoff are analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively, through trend contrast of curves processed by a 5-point smoothing procedure and linear correlation. The variance of the summertime 0℃ level height in Xinjiang correlates well with that of the annual river runoff, especially since the early 1990s, but it differs from region to region, with both the average height of the 0℃ level and runoff quantity significantly increasing over time in the Altay- Tacheng and Tianshan Mountain regions but decreasing on the northern slope of the Kunlun Mountains. The correlation holds for the whole of Xinjiang as well as the three individual regions, with a 0.01 significance level. This indicates that in recent years, climate change in Xinjiang has affected not only the surface layer but also the upper levels of the atmosphere, and this raising and lowering of the summertime 0℃ level has a direct impact on the warming and wetting process in Xinjiang and the amount of river runoff. Warming due to climate change increases the height of the 0℃ level, but also speeds up, ice-snow melting in mountain regions, which in turn increases river runoff, leading to a season of plentiful water instead of the more normal low flow period.

Cite this article

ZHANG Guangxing, SUN Shufang, MA Yufen, ZHAO Ling . The response of annual runoff to the height change of the summertime 0℃ level over Xinjiang[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2010 , 20(6) : 833 -847 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-010-0814-5