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Assessment of impact of climate change on the blue and green water resources in large river basins in China

Chen, Cui, Hagemann, Stefan, Liu, Junguo
Environmental earth sciences 2015 v.74 no.8 pp. 6381-6394
General Circulation Models, basins, bias, climate, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrologic data, hydrologic models, rivers, temperature, water management, water shortages, watersheds, China, Yellow River
Climate change as a result of the increased greenhouse gas emissions may influence the availability of water resources in many regions on the globe. In the past decades, China has been facing severe shortage of water resources. This study focuses on the assessment of the impact of climate change on both blue and green water resources in ten large river basins in China. The blue and green water resources for these river basins were derived from the terrestrial hydrological fluxes in period 1960–2100, which were simulated with the Max Planck Institute Hydrological Model—MPI-HM. The forcing data for the hydrological model, the precipitation and temperature were obtained from three coupled Atmosphere–Ocean General Circulation Models (GCMs)—ECHAM5, IPSL and CNRM, under A2 and B1 greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The statistical bias correction method was applied on the output from the three GCMs. By using this climate model–hydrology model modeling chain, the impact of climate change on the blue and green water resources was analyzed over the ten Chinese river basins. Here, the projected changes in 2071–2100 are considered relative to 1971–2000. The projected change of monthly mean and annual mean of green water resources show the general increase for all ten river basins; among them, Inland river, Zhemin river and Zhujiang river have larger change signal than other basins. For blue water resources, increases of the annual mean are projected from November to March for Heilongjiang river, Liaohe river and Yellow river, Inland river in Northern China; and decreases are projected for Huaihe river, Zhemin river, Haihe river, Yangzi river, Southwest river, and Zhujiang river basins in Southern China. It is found that climate change has impact on both blue and green water resources over large river basins in China. The sustainable blue water resources management should take into account the different changes in both Northern and Southern China. The results show that a better management of green water resources is of importance for food and ecological securities in the context of global change.