Articles | Volume 18, issue 8
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3069–3077, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-18-3069-2014
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3069–3077, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-18-3069-2014

Research article 19 Aug 2014

Research article | 19 Aug 2014

Quantitative contribution of climate change and human activities to runoff changes in the Wei River basin, China

C. S. Zhan2, S. S. Jiang3, F. B. Sun2, Y. W. Jia1, C. W. Niu1, and W. F. Yue3 C. S. Zhan et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 3College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, 100875, Beijing, China

Abstract. Surface runoff from the Wei River basin, the largest tributary of the Yellow River in China, has dramatically decreased over last 51 years from 1958 to 2008. Climate change and human activities have been identified as the two main reasons for the decrease in runoff. The study period is split into two sub-periods (1958–1989 and 1990–2008) using the Mann–Kendall jump test. This study develops an improved climate elasticity method based on the original climate elasticity method, and conducts a quantitative assessment of the impact of climate change and human activities on the runoff decrease in the Wei River basin. The results from the original climate elasticity method show that climatic impacts contribute 37–40% to the decrease in runoff, while human impacts contribute 60–63%. In contrast, the results from the improved climate elasticity method yield a climatic contribution to runoff decrease of 22–29% and a human contribution of 71–78%. A discussion of the simulation reliability and uncertainty concludes that the improved climate elasticity method has a better mechanism and can provide more reasonable results.