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Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1971-1991, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-1971-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
27 Mar 2018
Responses of runoff to historical and future climate variability over China
Chuanhao Wu1, Bill X. Hu1,2, Guoru Huang3,4, Peng Wang1, and Kai Xu1 1Institute of Groundwater and Earth Sciences, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
2Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
3School of Civil Engineering and Transportation, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China
4State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China
Abstract. China has suffered some of the effects of global warming, and one of the potential implications of climate warming is the alteration of the temporal–spatial patterns of water resources. Based on the long-term (1960–2008) water budget data and climate projections from 28 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), this study investigated the responses of runoff (R) to historical and future climate variability in China at both grid and catchment scales using the Budyko-based elasticity method. Results show that there is a large spatial variation in precipitation (P) elasticity (from 1.1 to 3.2) and potential evaporation (PET) elasticity (from −2.2 to −0.1) across China. The P elasticity is larger in north-eastern and western China than in southern China, while the opposite occurs for PET elasticity. The catchment properties' elasticity of R appears to have a strong non-linear relationship with the mean annual aridity index and tends to be more significant in more arid regions. For the period 1960–2008, the climate contribution to R ranges from −2.4 to 3.6 % yr−1 across China, with the negative contribution in north-eastern China and the positive contribution in western China and some parts of the south-west. The results of climate projections indicate that although there is large uncertainty involved in the 28 GCMs, most project a consistent change in P (or PET) in China at the annual scale. For the period 2071–2100, the mean annual P is projected to increase in most parts of China, especially the western regions, while the mean annual PET is projected to increase in all of China, particularly the southern regions. Furthermore, greater increases are projected for higher emission scenarios. Overall, due to climate change, the arid regions and humid regions of China are projected to become wetter and drier in the period 2071–2100, respectively (relative to the baseline 1971–2000).
Citation: Wu, C., Hu, B. X., Huang, G., Wang, P., and Xu, K.: Responses of runoff to historical and future climate variability over China, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1971-1991, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-1971-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
China has suffered some of the effects of global warming, and one of the potential implications of climate warming is the alteration of the temporal–spatial patterns of water resources. In this paper, the Budyko-based elasticity method was used to investigate the responses of runoff to historical and future climate variability over China at both grid and catchment scales. The results help to better understand the hydrological effects of climate change and adapt to a changing environment.
China has suffered some of the effects of global warming, and one of the potential implications...
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