Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-25
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-25
 
24 Jan 2022
24 Jan 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Changes of Nonlinearity and Stability of Streamflow Recession Characteristics under Climate Warming in a Large Glaciated Basin of the Tibetan Plateau

Jiarong Wang1,2, Xi Chen1,2, Man Gao1, Qi Hu3, and Jintao Liu2 Jiarong Wang et al.
  • 1Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, School of Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, P.R. China
  • 2College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, P.R. China
  • 3School of Natural Resources and Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln NE 68583 U.S.A.

Abstract. The accelerated climate warming in the Tibetan Plateau after 1997 has strong consequences in hydrology, geography, and social wellbeing. In hydrology, the change of streamflow as a result of changes of dynamic water storage originating from glacier melt and permafrost thawing in the warming climate directly affects the available water resources for societies of the most populated nations in the world. In this study, annual streamflow recession characteristics are analyzed using daily climate and hydrological data during 1980–2015 in the Yarlung-Zangpo River basin (YRB) of south Tibetan Plateau. The recession characteristics are examined in terms of dQ/dt = −aQb and the response/sensitivity of streamflow to changes of groundwater storage. Major results show that climate warming significantly increased the nonlinearity of the response (b) and decreased streamflow stability [log(a)] in most sub-basins of YRB. These changes of recession characteristics are attributed to opposite effects of increases of available water storage and recession timescale on the recession. Climate warming increased sub-basin water storage considerably by more recharge from accelerated glacier melting and permafrost thawing after 1997. Meanwhile, the enlarged storage lengthens recession timescales and thereby decreases the sensitivity of discharge to storage. In the recession period when the recharge diminished, increased evaporation under warmer temperatures acts as a competing process to reduce water storage and streamflow. While reservoir regulations in some basins helped reduce and even reverse some of these climate warming effects, this short-term remedy could only function before the solid water storage is exhausted when the climate warming continues.

Jiarong Wang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-25', David Rupp, 15 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Jiarong Wang, 08 Mar 2022
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-25', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Jiarong Wang, 08 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2022-25', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 May 2022

Jiarong Wang et al.

Jiarong Wang et al.

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Short summary
The accelerated climate warming in the Tibetan Plateau after 1997 has strong consequences in hydrology, geography, and social wellbeing. In hydrology, the change of streamflow as a result of changes of dynamic water storage originating from glacier melt and permafrost thawing in the warming climate directly affects the available water resources for societies of the most populated nations in the world.