Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 138, Issue 3–4, pp 1971–1989 | Cite as

Projection of spatiotemporal patterns and possible changes of drought in the Yellow River basin, China

  • Mingwei Ma
  • Huijuan Cui
  • Wenchuan WangEmail author
  • Xudong Huang
  • Xinjun Tu
Original Paper


Drought projection is of critical significance for designing long-term drought adaptation strategies to cope with changing climate. This study presents an application of multi-class models for characterizing future droughts in the Yellow River basin (YRB). Using meteorological observations and simulations of three CMIP5 climatic models as input into VIC hydrologic model, the standardized Palmer drought index-based joint drought index (SPDI-JDI) is calculated to investigate spatiotemporal patterns and possible changes of future drought in the YRB, through an approach of bivariate modeling and analysis. It is concluded that moderate drought will be alleviated with decreased duration and severity, but extreme drought risk is likely to increase for future climate scenarios (2021–2050) relative to baseline period (1961–2000). From the perspective of bivariate analyses, the concurrence probability of drought events with extreme duration and severity might rise in the future, while increasing variability and heterogeneity of duration, severity and bivariate joint/concurrent return period would also increase the stochastic occurrence of extreme drought over time and space. These findings can provide insights into projection of climate change impacts on drought trends for the next 30 years, and help to preparations for strict control of socio-economic water consumption as well as eco-environmental protection and restoration in the YRB.


Drought Climate change CMIP5 VIC hydrologic model SPDI-JDI Bivariate return period Yellow River basin 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41701022 and 41730654), Open Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering (Grant No. 2017491011), Henan Province University Scientific and Technological Innovation Team (18IRTSTHN009), and Henan Province Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation and Treatment (2017016).


  1. FAO (1998) Digital soil map of the world and derived soil properties. Land water digital media series, vol 1. Food and Agriculture Organization, CD-ROMGoogle Scholar
  2. Fleig AK, Tallaksen LM, Hisdal H, Demuth S (2006) A global evaluation of streamflow drought characteristics. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 10(4):535–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Goswami UP, Bhargav K, Hazra B, Goyal MK (2018) Spatiotemporal and joint probability behavior of temperature extremes over the Himalayan region under changing climate. Theo Appl Climatol 134(1–2):477–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hamman JJ, Nijssen B, Bohn TJ, Gergel DR, Mao Y (2018) The Variable Infiltration Capacity model version 5 (VIC-5): infrastructure improvements for new applications and reproducibility. Geosci Model Dev 11(8):3481–3496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hansen MC, Defries RS, Townshend JRG, Sohlberg R (2000) Global land cover classification at 1 km spatial resolution using a classification tree approach. Int J Remote Sens 21(6–7):1331–1364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hao ZC, Hao FH, Singh VP (2016) A general framework for multivariate multi-index drought prediction based on Multivariate Ensemble Streamflow Prediction (MESP). J Hydrol 539:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Huang SZ, Chang JX, Leng GY, Huang Q (2015) Integrated index for drought assessment based on variable fuzzy set theory: a case study in the Yellow River basin. China. J Hydrol 527:608–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jiao Y, Yuan X (2019) More severe hydrological drought events emerge at different warming levels over the Wudinghe watershed in northern China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 23(1):621–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Li W, Jiang ZH, Xu JJ, Li L (2016) Extreme precipitation indices over China in CMIP5 models. Part II: probabilistic projection. J Clim 29(24):8989–9004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Li XL, Gao Q, Lei TW, Yang XS (2011) Application of an integrative hydro-ecological model to study water resources management in the upper and middle parts of the Yellow River basin. Front Earth Sci 5(1):45–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Liang X, Lettenmaier DP, Wood EF (1996) One-dimensional statistical dynamic representation of subgrid spatial variability of precipitation in the two-layer variable infiltration capacity model. J Geophys Res 101(D16):21403–21422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liang X, Lettenmaier DP, Wood EF, Burges SJ (1994) A simple hydrologically based model of land surface water and energy fluxes for GSMs. J Geophys Res 99(D7):14415–14428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liu X, Zhang XJ, Tang QH, Zhang XZ (2014) Effects of surface wind speed decline on modeled hydrological conditions in China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 18(8):2803–2813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Liu Y, Zhu Y, Ren LL, Yong B, Singh VP, Yuan F, Jiang SH, Yang XL (2019) On the mechanisms of two composite methods for construction of multivariate drought indices. Sci Total Environ 647:981–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ma MW, Ren LL, Singh VP, Yang XL, Yuan F, Jiang SH (2014a) New variants of the Palmer drought scheme capable of integrated utility. J Hydrol 519:1108–1119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ma MW, Ren LL, Singh VP, Yuan F, Chen L, Yang XL, Liu Y (2016) Hydrologic model-based Palmer indices for drought characterization in the Yellow River basin, China. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 30(5):1401–1420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ma MW, Ren LL, Yuan F, Jiang SH, Liu Y, Kong H, Gong LY (2014b) A new standardized Palmer drought index for hydro-meteorological use. Hydrol Process 28(23):5645–5661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ma MW, Song SB, Ren LL, Jiang SH, Song JL (2013) Multivariate drought characteristics using trivariate Gaussian and Student t copulas. Hydrol Process 27(8):1175–1190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nasrollahi N, AghaKouchak A, Cheng LY, Damberg L, Phillips TJ, Miao CY, Hsu KL, Sorooshian S (2015) How well do CMIP5 climate simulations replicate historical trends and patterns of meteorological droughts? Water Resour Res 51(4):2847–2864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Palmer WC (1965) Meteorological drought, Res. Paper No. 45. Weather Bureau. U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  21. Piao SL, Ciais P, Huang Y, Shen ZH, Peng SS, Li JS, Zhou LP, Liu HY, Ma YC, Ding YH, Friedlingstein P, Liu CZ, Tan K, Yu YQ, Zhang TY, Fang JY (2010) The impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture in China. Nature 467(7311):43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Qin PH, Xie ZH (2016) Detecting changes in future precipitation extremes over eight river basins in China using RegCM4 downscaling. J Geophys Res Atmos 121(12):6802–6821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ringler C, Cai XM, Wang JX, Ahmed A, Xue YP, Xu ZX, Yang ET, Zhao JS, Zhu TJ, Cheng L, Fu YF, Fu XF, Gu XW, You LZ (2010) Yellow River basin: living with scarcity. Water Int 35(5):681–701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Samaniego L, Kumar R, Breuer L, Chamorro A, Florke M, Pechlivanidis IG, Schafer D, Shah H, Vetter T, Wortmann M, Zeng X (2017) Propagation of forcing and model uncertainties on to hydrological drought characteristics in a multi-model century-long experiment in large river basins. Clim Change 141(3):435–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. She DX, Xia J (2013) The spatial and temporal analysis of dry spells in the Yellow River basin, China. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 27(1):29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shiau JT, Feng S, Nadarajah S (2007) Assessment of hydrological droughts for the Yellow River, China, using copulas. Hydrol Process 21(16):2157–2163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sillmann J, Kharin VV, Zhang X, Zwiers FW, Bronaugh D (2013a) Climate extremes indices in the CMIP5 multimodel ensemble: part 1. Model evaluation in the present climate. J Geophys Res Atmos 118(4):1716–1733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sillmann J, Kharin VV, Zwiers FW, Zhang X, Bronaugh D (2013b) Climate extremes indices in the CMIP5 multimodel ensemble: part 2. Future climate projections. J Geophys Res Atmos 118(6):2473–2493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sun T, Feng ML (2013) Multistage analysis of hydrologic alterations in the Yellow River, China. River Res Appl 29(8):991–1003Google Scholar
  30. Tang Y, Tang Q, Tian F, Zhang Z, Liu G (2013) Responses of natural runoff to recent climatic variations in the Yellow River basin, China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 17(11):4471–4480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Taylor KE, Stouffer RJ, Meehl GA (2012) An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull Amer Meteorol Soc 93(4):485–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang F, Wang ZM, Yang HB, Zhao Y (2018) Study of the temporal and spatial patterns of drought in the Yellow River basin based on SPEI. Sci China Earth Sci 61(8):1098–1111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang HJ, Sun JQ, Chen HP, Zhu YL, Zhang Y, Jiang DB, Lang XM, Fan K, Yu ET, Yang S (2012a) Extreme climate in China: facts, simulation and projection. Meteorol Z 21(3):279–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang L, Chen W (2014) A CMIP5 multimodel projection of future temperature, precipitation, and climatological drought in China. Int J Climatol 34(6):2059–2078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang WG, Shao QX, Peng SZ, Xing WQ, Yang T, Luo YF, Yong B, Xu JZ (2012b) Reference evapotranspiration change and the causes across the Yellow River Basin during 1957–2008 and their spatial and seasonal differences. Water Resour Res 48:W05530. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang YM, Yang J, Chang JX, Zhang R (2019) Assessing the drought mitigation ability of the reservoir in the downstream of the Yellow River. Sci Total Environ 646:1327–1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wells N, Goddard S, Hayes MJ (2004) A self-calibrating Palmer drought severity index. J Clim 17(12):2335–2351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wu D, Yan DH, Yang GY, Wang XG, Xiao WH, Zhang HT (2013) Assessment on agricultural drought vulnerability in the Yellow River basin based on a fuzzy clustering iterative model. Nat Hazards 67(2):919–936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wu JW, Miao CY, Tang X, Duan QY, He XJ (2018) A nonparametric standardized runoff index for characterizing hydrological drought on the Loess Plateau, China. Glob Planet Change 161:53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Xie Z, Yuan F, Duan Q, Zheng J, Liang M, Chen F (2007) Regional parameter estimation of the VIC land surface model: methodology and application to river basins in China. J Hydrometeorol 8(3):447–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yin YY, Tang QH, Liu XC, Zhang XJ (2017) Water scarcity under various socio-economic pathways and its potential effects on food production in the Yellow River basin. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 21(2):791–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yuan X, Ma F, Wang LY, Zheng ZY, Ma ZG, Ye AZ, Peng SM (2016a) An experimental seasonal hydrological forecasting system over the Yellow River basin-Part 1: understanding the role of initial hydrological conditions. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 20(6):2437–2451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yuan F, Ma MW, Ren LL, Shen HR, Li Y, Jiang SH, Yang XL, Zhao CX, Kong H (2016b) Possible future climate change impacts on the hydrological drought events in the Weihe river basin, China. Adv Meteorol 2016:2905198. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yuan X, Zhang M, Wang LY, Zhou T (2017) Understanding and seasonal forecasting of hydrological drought in the Anthropocene. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 21(11):5477–5492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zhai JQ, Liu B, Hartmann H, Su BD, Jiang T, Fraedrich K (2010a) Dryness/wetness variations in ten large river basins of China during the first 50 years of the 21st century. Quat Int 226(1–2):101–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhai JQ, Su BD, Krysanova V, Vetter T, Gao C, Jiang T (2010b) Spatial variation and trends in PDSI and SPI indices and their relation to streamflow in 10 large regions of China. J Clim 23(3):649–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhang Q, Peng JT, Singh VP, Li JF, Chen YQD (2014) Spatio-temporal variations of precipitation in arid and semiarid regions of China: the Yellow River basin as a case study. Glob Planet Change 114:38–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang Q, Singh VP, Li JF, Chen XH (2011) Analysis of the periods of maximum consecutive wet days in China. J Geophys Res Atmos 116:D23106. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zheng YQ, Long TT, Zeng XM, Qiang XM (2011) Simulations of water resource changes in eastern and central China in the past 130 years by a regional climate model. Acta Meteorol Sin 25(5):593–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhu YL, Chang JX, Huang SZ, Huang Q (2016) Characteristics of integrated droughts based on a nonparametric standardized drought index in the Yellow River Basin, China. Hydrol Res 47(2):454–446Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingwei Ma
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huijuan Cui
    • 3
  • Wenchuan Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xudong Huang
    • 1
  • Xinjun Tu
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Water ConservancyNorth China University of Water Resources and Electric PowerZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Center of Water Resources and Environment, School of Civil EngineeringSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations