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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 9
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 3219–3231, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-16-3219-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Water, climate, and vegetation: ecohydrology in a changing...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 3219–3231, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-16-3219-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 10 Sep 2012

Research article | 10 Sep 2012

Trends of streamflow, sediment load and their dynamic relation for the catchments in the middle reaches of the Yellow River over the past five decades

Z. L. Gao1,2, Y. L. Fu1, Y. H. Li1,2, J. X. Liu1,2, N. Chen1, and X. P. Zhang1,2 Z. L. Gao et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
  • 2Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, CAS & MWR Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China

Abstract. To control severe soil erosion on the Loess Plateau, China, a great number of soil conservation measures have been implemented since 1950s and subsequently, the "Grain for Green" project was implemented in 1999. The measures and the project resulted in a large scale land use/cover change (LUCC). Understanding the impacts of the measures and the project on streamflow, sediment load and their dynamic relation is essential because the three elements are closely related to the sustainable catchment management strategy on the Loess Plateau. The data for seven selected catchments in the middle reaches of the Yellow River were used and standardized with the precipitation and the controlling area for analysis. The nonparametric Mann-Kendall test and the Pettitt test were employed to detect trends and change points of the annual streamflow and annual sediment load. Simple linear regressions for the monthly streamflow and sediment load from May to October were made to express their relationship. Based on the change point identification and the time when the project began to be implemented on the Loess Plateau, the complete time for the data records was divided into three periods to compare the change degrees of streamflow, sediment load and their relation for the catchments.

Results show that there are three types of responses in streamflow, sediment load, and their dynamic relations for the seven catchments. The effects of the LUCC on streamflow, sediment load, and their relationships are greatest in the three transition zone catchments followed by the two rocky mountain catchments. The effects are much weaker in the two loess hilly-gully catchments. In general, the change degrees for sediment load are much greater than those for streamflow, which results from the decreased streamflow and weakening trend of their dynamic relation period by period in catchments.

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