Hydrologic response of climate change in the source region of the Yangtze River, based on water balance analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Due to the large amount of water resources stored in glaciers, permafrost, and lakes, the source region of the Yangtze River (SRYR) is of great importance for the overall basin water flow. For this purpose, a state of art review and calculations were made for the period 1957-2013 using observed hydrological and meteorological data with a water balance approach. Actual evapotranspiration was calculated and validated by empirical formulas. Water storage change analysis was conducted with uncertainty boundaries using a 10-year moving window. Results show that temperature, precipitation, and actual evapotranspiration in the SRYR increased by 0.34°C, 11.4 mm, and 7.6 mm per decade, respectively (significant at 0.05 probability level). Runoffappears to have increased at a rate of 3.3 mm per decade. The SRYR water storage in total has not changed significantly during the period, although the moving average is mostly below zero. Based on the water balance equation, the increase in calculated evapotranspiration is mainly due to the significantly increasing temperature. This in combination with increasing precipitation leads to a relatively stable water storage during the study period. Correlation analyses show that precipitation dominates runoffduring the warm season (May to October), while temperature anomalies dominate the runoffduring the cold season (November to April). The influence of temperature on runoffseems to enhance during the winter period.


External organisations
  • Hohai University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Climate Research
  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources


  • Climate change, Correlation analysis, Source region of the Yangtze River, Uncertainty propagation, Water balance
Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch

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