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Frontiers of Earth Science

Front. Earth Sci.    2014, Vol. 8 Issue (2) : 309-318     DOI: 10.1007/s11707-014-0406-2
Effects of climate fluctuations on runoff in the headwater region of the Kaidu River in northwestern China
Zhongsheng CHEN1,Yaning CHEN2,*()
1. State key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science, Ministry of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
2. State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
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The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of climate fluctuations on runoff in the headwater region of the Kaidu River in northwestern China. For this purpose, precipitation and potential evaporation (PET) data from 5 meteorological stations and the runoff depth data from the Dashankou hydrological station in the headwater region of the Kaidu River from 1960 to 2009 were collected, then the trends and abrupt changes of precipitation, PET and runoff depth were analyzed by means of Mann-Kendall test (M-K test) and Mann-Kendall-Sneyers test (M-K-S test), respectively. The runoff model driven by precipitation and PET was developed in this work and the sensitivity of runoff to climate fluctuation was simulated under different scenarios. Results showed that the annual precipitation and runoff depth both exhibited an increasing trend over the periods 1960–2009; however, this is not the case for the annual PET. The abrupt changes for annual precipitation, PET and runoff depth all occurred in the early 1990s. The established driving model could well reflect the complicated nonlinear relationship among runoff depth, precipitation and PET. The sensitivity analysis indicated that the precipitation had a positive effect on the runoff depth, opposite to what were observed between PET and runoff, and the runoff depth was more sensitive to precipitation than to PET in the headwater region of the Kaidu River.

Keywords climate fluctuation      driving model      runoff depth      sensitivity analysis     
Corresponding Authors: Yaning CHEN   
Issue Date: 24 June 2014
 Cite this article:   
Zhongsheng CHEN,Yaning CHEN. Effects of climate fluctuations on runoff in the headwater region of the Kaidu River in northwestern China[J]. Front. Earth Sci., 2014, 8(2): 309-318.
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Zhongsheng CHEN
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Fig.1  Location of the headwater region of the Kaidu River and the distribution of meteorological and hydrological stations.
Fig.2  Change trend of annual precipitation (a), PET (b), and runoff depth(c) during the period of 1960-2009. The long dashed line means linear trend for this period.
FactorMean value /(mm·yr-1)Trend rate/(mm·(10yr)-1)M-K testM-K-S test
ZSignificance levelAbrupt change pointSignificance level
Runoff depth1868.42.840.011993, 19950.01
Tab.1  Trend and abrupt change point values of annual precipitation, PET, and runoff depth
Fig.3  M-K-S test of annual runoff depth with forward (UB) and backward (UF).
Fig.4  Comparison between observed and simulated runoff depth over the two periods.
Fig.5  Contour plot of annual change (%) in runoff depth as a function of changes in annual precipitation and PET in the headwater region of the Kaidu River.
Fig.6  Correlation between runoff depth and precipitation, runoff depth and PET during the period from 1960 to 2009.
Fig.7  Correlation between runoff depth and humidity index during the period 1960-2009.
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