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Runoff variation characteristics, association with large-scale circulation and dominant causes in the Heihe River Basin, Northwest China

Cheng, Qingping, Zuo, Xiaoan, Zhong, Fanglei, Gao, Lu, Xiao, Shengchun
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.688 pp. 361-379
anthropogenic activities, climate change, ecosystems, equations, evapotranspiration, food production, periodicity, runoff, semiarid zones, water resources, watersheds, wavelet, China
The water resources in arid and semi-arid regions are critical to providing reliable sources of water for food production and ecosystem functioning. In this study, continuous wavelet transform and wavelet coherence were used to analyse the runoff periodicity and relationship with climate indices, respectively. Additionally, the double mass curve (DMCD), the slope changing ratio of cumulative quantity (SCRCQ) and the Choudhury–Yang equation (Budyko-CY) methods for different potential evapotranspiration data (E0(E0-20 cm, E0-PM, E0-H)) were used to separate the impacts of climate changes and anthropogenic activities on runoff variations. The results demonstrated that the flow regimes in high and low flow seasons were not obvious shifts, and that after implementation of the Ecological Water Diversion Project (EWDP), ecosystems were gradually restored in the downstream portion of the Heihe River Basin (DHRB). Periodicities of 1–7 years and 1–5.8 years were detected in Yingluoxia and Zhengyixia, respectively. Additionally, on a 1–148.2 month timescale, the monthly runoff with AO, NAO, PDO, and AMO had significant resonance periodicity and a 1–48 month Spearman's lag correlation. On the annual and high-flow, climate changes dominant determinant to an increase of runoff for the DMCD and Budyko-CY in period 2, SCRCQ and Budyko-CY in period 3 for different E0 in the upstream (UHRB). In the midstream (MHRB) region, anthropogenic activities played a dominant role in deducing the runoff by the SCRCQ and Budyko-CY methods for different E0 values in period 3. During the low-flow season, the impact of human activities in the UHRB and climate changes in the MHRB was significant for period 2 and 3. Therefore, the impacts of climate change and human activities on runoff changes caused by the introduction of different E0 on different timescales should be fully considered in the future.