Water Resources Management

, Volume 33, Issue 7, pp 2319–2333 | Cite as

Impacts of Hydrological Changes on Annual Runoff Distribution in Seasonally Dry Basins

  • Francesco ViolaEmail author
  • X. Feng
  • D. Caracciolo


Runoff is expected to change due to climate and land use change. Because it constitutes a large component of the terrestrial water budget, we need to develop new policies for managing regional water resources. To do so, we must first attribute changes in the natural flow regime to either climate or land use change. In this context, the Budyko’s curve has previously been adopted to separate the impacts of climate and land use change on runoff by using long term hydrological variables. In this study, a framework based on Fu’s equation (which describes Budyko’s curve) is used to separate the impacts of climate and land use change on annual runoff distributions. Specifically, this framework is based on a recently developed method to obtain annual runoff probability density function (pdf) in seasonally dry basins—such as those in Mediterranean regions—from climate statistics and Fu’s equation parameter ω. The effect of climate change is captured through variations in the first order statistics of annual rainfall and potential evapotranspiration, while land use change is represented by changes in Fu’s equation parameter ω. The effects of these two drivers (i.e., climate and land use change) are analyzed by reconstructing the annual runoff pdfs for the current period and for likely future scenarios, based on predictions from global circulation models and urbanization trajectories. The results show that climate change can lead to a strong reduction in mean annual runoff, a shift of the runoff pdf toward lower values, and a decrease in its variance. Concurrent changes in climate and land use almost always result in a reduction in the mean annual runoff, due to the greater impact of climate change on the runoff pdf.


Annual runoff distribution Budyko’s curve Climate change Land use change 


Funding Information

Fondazione di Sardegna, F71I17000270002.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural EngineeringUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Regional Environmental Protection Agency of SardiniaCagliariItaly

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