Water Resources

Hydrology and water resources variation and its response to regional climate change in Xinjiang

  • 1. Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology and Desert Environment, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology, School of Resources and Environmental Science, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046, China;
    3. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
Xu Changchun, Ph.D and Associate Professor, specialized in climate change and hydrology and water resources. E-mail: xcc0110@163.com

Received date: 2009-08-12

  Revised date: 2009-10-16

  Online published: 2010-08-15

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40671014; Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCX2-YW-127; Open Foundation of Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology and Desert Environment, CAS, No.200901-07; Doctor Research Foundation of Xinjiang University, No.BS080131


Based on the surface runoff, temperature and precipitation data over the last 50 years from eight representative rivers in Xinjiang, using Mann-Kendall trend and jump detection method, the paper investigated the long-term trend and jump point of time series, the surface runoff, mean annual temperature and annual precipitation. Meanwhile, the paper analyzed the relationship between runoff and temperature and precipitation, and the flood frequency and peak flow. Results showed that climate of all parts of Xinjiang conformably has experienced an increase in temperature and precipitation since the mid-1980s. Northern Xinjiang was the area that changed most significantly followed by southern and eastern Xinjiang. Affected by temperature and precipitation variation, river runoff had changed both inter- annually and intra-annually. The surface runoff of most rivers has increased significantly since the early 1990s, and some of them have even witnessed the earlier spring floods, later summer floods and increasing flood peaks. The variation characteristics were closely related with the replenishment types of rivers. Flood frequency and peak flow increased all over Xinjiang. Climate warming has had an effect on the regional hydrological cycle.

Cite this article

XU Changchun, CHEN Yaning, YANG Yuhui, HAO Xingming, SHEN Yongping . Hydrology and water resources variation and its response to regional climate change in Xinjiang[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2010 , 20(4) : 599 -612 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-010-0599-6


[1] Barnett T P, Adam J C, Lettenmaier D P, 2005. Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions. Nature, 438: 303–309.

[2] Burn D H, Hag Elnur M A, 2002. Detection of hydrological trends and variability. Journal of Hydrology, 255: 107–122.

[3] Chen Yaning, Xu Zongxue, 2005. Plausible impact of global climate change on water resources in the Tarim River Basin. Science in China: (Series D), 48(1): 65–73.

[4] Douglas A Burns, Julian Klaus, Michael R McHale, 2007. Recent climate trends and implications for water resources in the Catskill Mountain region, New York, USA. Journal of Hydrology, 336: 155–170.

[5] Hagg W, Braun L N, Kuhn M et al., 2007. Modeling of hydrological response to climate change in glacierized Central Asian catchments. Journal of Hydrology, 332: 40–53.

[6] Menzel L, Burger G, 2002. Climate change scenarios and runoff response in the Mulde catchment (southern Elbe, Germany). Journal of Hydrology, 267: 53–64.

[7] Narlan Hazaizi, 2001. River hydrological features in Altay region, Xinjiang. Hydrology, 21(4): 53–55.

[8] Nigel W Arnell, 1999. The effect of climate change on hydrological regimes in Europe: A continental perspective. Global Environmental Change, 9: 5–23.

[9] Wei Fengying, 2007. Diagnose and Forecast Technology of Modern Climate Statistics. Beijing: China Meteorological Press, 1–296. (in Chinese)

[10] Wu Sufen, Zhang Guowei, 2003. Preliminary approach on the floods and their calamity changing tendency in Xinjiang region. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 25(2): 199–203. (in Chinese)

[11] Yuan Yujiang, Sang Xiucheng, Gong Yuan et al., 2001. Primary discussion on regional difference of influence of climate on surface water resources in Xinjiang. Quarterly of Journal of Applied Meteorology, 12(2): 210–217. (in Chinese)

[12] Zeng Tao, Hao Zhenchun, Wang Jiahu, 2004. Modeling the response of runoff to climate change. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 26(3): 324–332. (in Chinese)

[13] Zhang Yan, Xu Jianhua, Lv Guanghui, 2008. Dynamic analysis of water footprint and resources utility efficiency of Xinjiang in Northwest China arid area. Journal of Desert Research, 28(4): 775–780. (in Chinese)