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Variations in the Runoff-Sediment Relationship of the Weihe River Basin Based on the Copula Function

Guo, Aijun, Chang, Jianxia, Wang, Yimin, Huang, Qiang
Water 2016 v.8 no.6
anthropogenic activities, probability distribution, rivers, runoff, sediment yield, sediments, soil, water conservation, watersheds, China
This study investigates the runoff-sediment relationship (RSR) of the Weihe River, a sandy waterway originating from the Loess Plateau, and considers the potential variations in RSR under an evolving environment. The double mass curve method was used to investigate RSR inflection points at six hydrologic stations located in the Weihe River basin (WRB) spanning the period from 1956 to 2010. Because of its ability to accurately define nonlinear and asymmetric correlations between variables, the Copula function provided the joint probability distributions and revealed the joint probabilities of annual runoff and sediment yield through different periods. The results indicated: (1) The sediment yield and runoff exhibit decreasing trends, which was principally related to human activity such as soil and water conservation measures, water projects and industrial and domestic water use, (2) the RSR inflection points principally occurred around 1983 at the Weijiabu, Xianyang, Huaxian and Zhuangtou stations, whereas they were non-significant at the Linjiacun and Zhangjiashan stations. Changes in RSR are attributed to the irregular effect of human activity reducing the runoff and sediment output; and (3) the joint probability distributions of annual runoff and sediment yield varied under an evolving environment and were characterized by spatial variability, which is more evident in the mainstream areas of the Weihe River than in the tributary regions.