Articles | Volume 16, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 231–240, 2012
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 231–240, 2012

Research article 25 Jan 2012

Research article | 25 Jan 2012

Assessing water resources in China using PRECIS projections and a VIC model

G. Q. Wang1,2, J. Y. Zhang1,2, J. L. Jin1,2, T. C. Pagano3, R. Calow4, Z. X. Bao1,2, C. S. Liu1,2, Y. L. Liu1,2, and X. L. Yan1,2 G. Q. Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China
  • 2Research Center for Climate Change, Ministry of Water Resources, Nanjing 210029, China
  • 3CSIRO Land and Water, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 4Overseas Development Institute, London, SE1 7JD, UK

Abstract. Climate change is now a major environmental and developmental issue, and one that will increase the challenge of sustainable water resources management. In order to assess the implications of climate change for water resources in China, we calibrated a Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model with a resolution of 50×50 km2 using data from 125 well-gauged catchments. Based on similarities in climate conditions, soil texture and other variables, model parameters were transferred to other areas not covered by the calibrated catchments. Taking runoff in the period 1961–1990 as a baseline, we studied the impact of climate change on runoff under three emissions scenarios, A2, B2 and A1B. Model findings indicate that annual runoff over China as a whole will probably increase by approximately 3–10% by 2050, but with quite uneven spatial and temporal distribution. The prevailing pattern of "north dry and south wet" in China is likely to be exacerbated under global warming.