Temporal and spatial patterns of low-flow changes in the Yellow River in the last half century
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- Yang, T., Xu, CY., Shao, Q. et al. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess (2010) 24: 297. doi:10.1007/s00477-009-0318-y
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Low-flow is widely regarded as the primary flow conditions for the anthropogenic and aquatic communities in most rivers, particularly in such an arid and semi-arid area as the Yellow River. This study presents a method integrating Mann–Kendall trend test, wavelet transform analysis and spatial mapping techniques to identify the temporal and spatial patterns of low-flow changes in the Yellow River (1955–2005). The results indicate that: (1) no trend can be identified in the major low-flow conditions in the upper Yellow River, but downward trends can be found in the middle and lower Yellow River; (2) similar periodic patterns are detected in the 7-day minima (AM7Q) in the upper and middle Yellow River, while different patterns are found in the lower Yellow River; (3) the increasing coefficients of variance in the primary low-flow conditions suggest that the variability of the low-flow is increasing from the upper to lower stream; (4) climate change and uneven temporal-spatial patterns of precipitation, jointly with highly intensified water resource utilization, are recognized as the major factors that led to the decrease of low-flow in the lower Yellow River in recent decades. The current investigation should be helpful for regional water resources management in the Yellow River basin, which is characterized by serious water shortage.