Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2023-16
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2023-16
08 Feb 2023
 | 08 Feb 2023
Status: this discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Regional difference in runoff regimes and changes in the Yarlung Zangbo river basin

He Sun, Tandong Yao, Fengge Su, Wei Yang, Guifeng Huang, and Deliang Chen

Abstract. An improved understanding of runoff regimes and flow changes in the Yarlung Zangbo (YZ) river basin in the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP) is crucial for water resources management. However, regional characteristics in runoff regimes and changes are not comprehensively investigated in the YZ mostly due to the lack of hydrometeorological observations. Here, we comprehensively investigated runoff regimes and changes across six sub-basins in the YZ for 1971–2020 with a particular focus on the comparison between the upstream of the Nuxia (NX) basin and the downstream NX-Pasighat (NX-BXK), based on a newly generated precipitation dataset and a well-validated model with streamflow, glacier mass and snow cover observations. Our results reveal that large regional differences in runoff regimes and changes exist in the YZ basin. Firstly, runoff generation is dominated by rainfall in the entire YZ, and glacier runoff plays more important role in annual total runoff (19 %) in the NX-BXK than other sub-basins. Secondly, annual runoff shows an increasing trend in the NX basin but a decreasing trend in the NX-BXK due to rain-induced runoff changes, resulting in a weak increasing trend (3.1 mm/10 yr) in the YZ basin. Thirdly, total runoff increases of 5 %–22 % in the NX but decreases of 3 %–20 % in the NX-BXK in all seasons in 1998–2020 relative to the period 1971–1997. Finally, the NX basin faces a considerably hazard from extreme flood, but the NX-BXK basin faces more severe hydrological droughts. Glacier runoff shows limited roles in mitigating water shortages caused by drought in dry seasons, but it intensifies the flood frequency and severity among the basins in wet season. Our study offers a basic framework for clarifying the runoff regimes and flow changes in the TP basins.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
He Sun, Tandong Yao, Fengge Su, Wei Yang, Guifeng Huang, and Deliang Chen

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2023-16', Anonymous Referee #1, 26 Mar 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', He Sun, 29 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2023-16', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Jun 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', He Sun, 14 Jun 2023

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2023-16', Anonymous Referee #1, 26 Mar 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', He Sun, 29 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2023-16', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Jun 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', He Sun, 14 Jun 2023
He Sun, Tandong Yao, Fengge Su, Wei Yang, Guifeng Huang, and Deliang Chen

Data sets

Daily precipitation data with 10km resolution in the upper Brahmaputra (Yarlung Zangbo River) Basin-V2 (1951-2020) He Sun https://doi.org/10.11888/Atmos.tpdc.272885

He Sun, Tandong Yao, Fengge Su, Wei Yang, Guifeng Huang, and Deliang Chen

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Short summary
Based on field research campaigns since 2017 in the Yarlung Zangbo (YZ) river basin and a well-validated model, our results reveal that large regional differences in runoff regimes and changes exist in the basin. Annual runoff shows decreasing trend in the downstream sub-basin but increasing trends in the upper and middle sub-basins, due to opposing precipitation changes. Glacier runoff plays more important role in annual total runoff in downstream basin.