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Impacts of climate change and hydraulic structures on runoff and sediment discharge in the middle Yellow River
- Shi, Haiyun, Wang, Guangqian
- Hydrological processes 2015 v.29 no.14 pp. 3236-3246
- climate change, humans, hydraulic structures, rain, rain intensity, runoff, sediment traps, sediment yield, sediments, soil water, water conservation, watersheds, Yellow River
- Due to climate change and its aggravation by human activities (e.g. hydraulic structures) over the past several decades, the hydrological conditions in the middle Yellow River have markedly changed, leading to a sharp decrease in runoff and sediment discharge. This paper focused on the impacts of climate change and hydraulic structures on runoff and sediment discharge, and the study area was located in the 3246 km² Huangfuchuan (HFC) River basin. Changes in annual runoff and sediment discharge were initially analysed by using the Mann–Kendall trend test and Pettitt change point test methods. Subsequently, periods of natural and disturbed states were defined. The results showed that both the annual runoff and sediment discharge presented statistically significant decreasing trends. However, compared with the less remarkable decline in annual rainfall, it was inferred that hydraulic structures might be another important cause for the sharp decrease in runoff and sediment discharge in this region. Consequently, sediment‐trapping dams (STDs, a type of large‐sized check dam used to prevent sediment from entering the Yellow River main stem) were considered in this study. Through evaluating the impacts of the variation in rainfall patterns (i.e. amount and intensity) and the STD construction, a positive correlation between rainfall intensity and current STD construction was found. This paper revealed that future soil and water conservation measures should focus on areas with higher average annual rainfall and more rainstorm hours.