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Sediment and runoff changes in the Yangtze River basin during past 50 years

Zhang, Q., Xu, C.Y., Becker, S., Jiang, T.
Journal of hydrology 2006 v.331 no.3-4 pp. 511-523
watershed hydrology, watersheds, sediment yield, runoff, rivers, temporal variation, statistical analysis, regression analysis, reservoirs, linear models, China, Yangtze River
Annual runoff and annual suspended sediment loads of hydrological gauging stations along the mainstream of the Yangtze River basin (Pingshan station, Yichang station, Hankou station and Datong station) and main tributaries (Beipei station in Jialingjiang River, Wulong station in Wujiang River and Huangzhuang station in Hanjiang River) were analyzed with the help of Mann-Kendall trend analysis and linear regression analysis. Research results indicate that (1) changing patterns of runoff and sediment loads are different in different parts of the Yangtze River basin. No significant trend is detected for annual runoff at all stations at >95% confidence level. Changes of sediment loads, however, demonstrate different pictures in the Yangtze River basin. The sediment loads are in increasing trend in Pingshan station- the most upstream station on the Yangtze River basin (this increasing trend is significant at >95% confidence level after about 1990), but are in decreasing trend at other stations (including stations in the tributaries studied in this paper). This decreasing trend becomes more obvious from Yichang station to Datong station. (2) Water reservoirs exerted more influences on changes of sediment loads than on runoff, which is the main reason for the decreasing trend of sediment loads found in most stations. (3) Influences of water reservoirs on sediment loads are more obvious in the tributaries than in the mainstream of the Yangtze River basin, while in the mainstream the variation patterns of sediment loads are determined by multiple factors.