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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 22, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 351-371, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-351-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 351-371, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-351-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Jan 2018

Research article | 16 Jan 2018

Investigating water budget dynamics in 18 river basins across the Tibetan Plateau through multiple datasets

Wenbin Liu1, Fubao Sun1,2,8,9, Yanzhong Li3, Guoqing Zhang4,5, Yan-Fang Sang1, Wee Ho Lim1,6, Jiahong Liu7, Hong Wang1, and Peng Bai1 Wenbin Liu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2Ecology Institute of Qilian Mountain, Hexi University, Zhangye 734000, China
  • 3College of Hydrometeorology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 4Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environmental Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 5CAS Center for Excellent in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 6Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
  • 7Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
  • 8College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 9Center for Water Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Abstract. The dynamics of basin-scale water budgets over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are not well understood nowadays due to the lack of in situ hydro-climatic observations. In this study, we investigate the seasonal cycles and trends of water budget components (e.g. precipitation P, evapotranspiration ET and runoff Q) in 18 TP river basins during the period 1982–2011 through the use of multi-source datasets (e.g. in situ observations, satellite retrievals, reanalysis outputs and land surface model simulations). A water balance-based two-step procedure, which considers the changes in basin-scale water storage on the annual scale, is also adopted to calculate actual ET. The results indicated that precipitation (mainly snowfall from mid-autumn to next spring), which are mainly concentrated during June–October (varied among different monsoons-impacted basins), was the major contributor to the runoff in TP basins. The P, ET and Q were found to marginally increase in most TP basins during the past 30 years except for the upper Yellow River basin and some sub-basins of Yalong River, which were mainly affected by the weakening east Asian monsoon. Moreover, the aridity index (PET/P) and runoff coefficient (Q/P) decreased slightly in most basins, which were in agreement with the warming and moistening climate in the Tibetan Plateau. The results obtained demonstrated the usefulness of integrating multi-source datasets to hydrological applications in the data-sparse regions. More generally, such an approach might offer helpful insights into understanding the water and energy budgets and sustainability of water resource management practices of data-sparse regions in a changing environment.

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The dynamics of basin-scale water budgets over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are not well understood nowadays due to the lack of hydro-climatic observations. In this study, we investigate seasonal cycles and trends of water budget components (e.g. precipitation P, evapotranspiration ET and runoff Q) in 18 TP river basins during the period 1982–2011 through the use of multi-source datasets (e.g. in situ observations, satellite retrievals, reanalysis outputs and land surface model simulations).
The dynamics of basin-scale water budgets over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are not well understood...
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