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Frontiers of Earth Science

Front. Earth Sci.
Quantifying the impact of mountain precipitation on runoff in Hotan River, northwestern China
Baofu LI1,2(), Jili ZHENG1,2, Xun SHI3, Yaning CHEN4
1. School of Geography and Tourism, Qufu Normal University, Rizhao 276826, China
2. Rizhao Key Laboratory of Territory Spatial Planning and Ecological Construction, Rizhao 276826, China
3. Department of Geography, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
4. 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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It is of great significance to quantitatively assess the impact of mountain precipitation on inland river runoff in data scarce regions. Based on the corrected TRMM precipitation and runoff data, a variety of statistical methods were used to identify which areas of precipitation have an important impact on runoff in the Hotan River Basin, and to evaluate the effects that precipitation changes have on runoff at low, mid, high, and extremely high altitudes of mountainous areas. The results showed that: 1) From 1998 to 2015, the annual runoff showed a fluctuating upward trend with a rate of 11.21 × 108 m3/10a (P<0.05). Runoff in every season also had an increasing trend, with summer runoff the most significant at a rate of 6.09 × 108 m3/10a. 2) The annual runoff and precipitation changes had certain synchronization, with a correlation coefficient of 0.45 (P<0.05). Among them, the correlations between precipitation and runoff changes were highest at low and mid- altitudes, with coefficients of 0.62 and 0.55, respectively (P<0.05). 3) 65.95% of the regional precipitation at low altitudes and 48.34% at high altitudes were significantly correlated with runoff (P<0.05), while only 38.84% and 26.58% of regional precipitation levels at mid- and extremely high altitudes were significantly correlated with runoff. 4) The annual precipitation change in the basin was 1%, which would cause the annual runoff to change by 0.24%. In 1998–2015, the change of annual runoff caused by precipitation change at high altitudes was largest at a rate of -6.01%; the change rates of annual runoff caused by precipitation change in the low, mid-, and extremely high altitudes were -3.66%, -3.62%, and -3.67%, respectively. The results have significant scientific guidance for water resource management in arid basins.

Keywords precipitation      mountainous areas      runoff      TRMM      arid region of northwest China     
Corresponding Author(s): Baofu LI   
Online First Date: 12 June 2020   
 Cite this article:   
Baofu LI,Jili ZHENG,Xun SHI, et al. Quantifying the impact of mountain precipitation on runoff in Hotan River, northwestern China[J]. Front. Earth Sci., 12 June 2020. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1007/s11707-019-0811-7.
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Baofu LI
Yaning CHEN
Fig.1  Location of the Hotan River Basin and distribution of surrounding meteorological stations and hydrological stations.
Fig.2  Annual runoff trends of the Hotan River from 1998 to 2015
Fig.3  Seasonal runoff trends in the Hotan River from 1998 to 2015
Fig.4  In calibration period (a: 1998–2010) and verification period (b: 2011–2015), the trends in precipitation based on TRMM and stations in the Hotan River Basin
Correction R BIAS RMSE
Before correction 0.56*** 0.10 57.66
After correction 0.94*** −0.05 47.98
Tab.1  Relationship between TRMM data and measured precipitation data in Hotan River basin during calibration period (1998–2010)
Fig.5  Spatial variation of annual precipitation in the Hotan River Basin from 1998 to 2015 based on correction TRMM data.
Fig.6  (a) Annual and (b) monthly runoff and precipitation changes in the Hotan River Basin.
Period Low altitude Mid- altitude High altitude Extremely high altitude Hotan River Basin
Year 0.62* 0.55* 0.42 0.25 0.45*
Spring 0.05 0.04 0.01 -0.02 0.01
Summer 0.59* 0.39 0.38 0.27 0.39
Autumn 0.13 0.09 -0.06 -0.11 -0.03
Winter 0.00 0.13 0.08 0.05 0.07
Tab.2  Pearson correlation coefficient between precipitation and runoff in Hotan River Basin from 1998 to 2015
Fig.7  Spatial distribution of correlation coefficient between (a) annual, (b) summer runoff and precipitation in the Hotan River Basin from 1998 to 2015
Fig.8  The area ratio of significant (P<0.05) correlation between annual, summer runoff and precipitation in the Hotan River Basin from 1998 to 2015
Fig.9  Sensitivity coefficient of annual runoff in Hotan River Basin to precipitation changes in mountainous areas and the change rate of annual runoff caused by precipitation changes
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