Identifying separate impacts of climate and land use/cover change on hydrological processes in upper stream of Heihe River, northwest China

Yang, Linshan and Feng, Qi and Yin, Zhenliang and Wen, Xiaohu and Si, Jianhua and Li, Changbin and Deo, Ravinesh C. (2017) Identifying separate impacts of climate and land use/cover change on hydrological processes in upper stream of Heihe River, northwest China. Hydrological Processes, 31 (5). pp. 1100-1112. ISSN 0885-6087


Climate change and land use/cover change (LUCC) are two factors that produce major impacts on hydrological processes. Understanding and quantifying their respective influence is of great importance for water resources management and socioeconomic activities as well as policy and planning for sustainable development. In this study, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was calibrated and validated in upper stream of the Heihe River in northwest China. The reliability of the SWAT model was corroborated in terms of the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE), the correlation coefficient (R) and the relative bias error (BIAS). The findings proposed a new method employing statistical separation procedures using a physically based modeling system for identifying the individual impacts of climate change and LUCC on hydrology processes, in particular on the aspects of runoff and evapotranspiration.

The results confirmed that SWAT was a powerful and accurate model for diagnosis of a key challenge facing the Heihe River basin. The model assessment metrics, NSE, R and BIAS in the data were, respectively, 0.91, 0.95 and 1.14% for the calibration period and 0.90, 0.96 and -0.15%, respectively, for the validation period. An assessment of climate change possibility showed that precipitation, runoff and air temperature exhibited upward trends with a rate of 15.7 mm, 6.1 mm and 0.38 °C per decade for the 1980 to 2010 period, respectively. Evaluation of LUCC showed that the changes in growth of vegetation, including forestland, grassland and the shrub area has increased gradually while the barren area has decreased. The integrated effects of LUCC and climate change increased runoff and ET values by 3.2% and 6.6% of the total runoff and ET, respectively. Climate change outweighed the impact of LUCC, thus showing respective increases in runoff and ET of about 107.3% and 81.2% of the total changes. The LUCC influence appeared to be modest by comparison, and showed about -7.3% and 18.8% changes relative to the totals, respectively. The increase in runoff caused by climate change factors are more than the offsetting decreases resulting from LUCC. The outcomes of this study show that the climate factors accounted for the notable effects more significantly than LUCC on hydrological processes in the upper stream of the Heihe River.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2017 23:22
Last Modified: 13 May 2018 23:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; land use/cover change; hydrological processes; water resources management; Heihe River, China; Soil and Water Assessment Tool; SWAT
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090509 Water Resources Engineering
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1002/hyp.11098

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