Stream temperature response to climate change and water diversion activities

  • Dedi Liu
  • Yao Xu
  • Shenglian Guo
  • Lihua Xiong
  • Pan Liu
  • Qin Zhao
Original Paper


Stream temperature is an important control of many in-stream processes. There is rising concern about increases in stream temperature with projected climate changes and human-related water activities. Here, we investigate the responses to climate change and water diversions in Eel River basin. The increase in stream temperatures is considered to be the result of changes in air temperature, the proportion of base flow and the amount of stream flow derived from historical and future simulations using the integrated VIC hydrologic model and ANN stream temperature model. The results show that stream temperature will increase throughout the basin in the future under two climate change representative concentration pathways (RCPs 4.5 and 8.5) and will also be influenced by the water diversion activities schedules. Specifically, the stream temperature increases, in the late twenty-first century under RCP8.5 scenarios, from 1.20 to 2.40 °C in summer and from 0.58–3.46 °C in winter respectively; Water diversion activities in Eel River Basin can increase nearly 1 °C in stream temperature. Therefore, both climate change and water diversion activities can substantially cause the rise of more than 2 °C in stream temperature. In conclusion, stream temperature is mainly sensitive to the proportion of base flow in summer, but also the change of the amount of stream flow in winter in our case study area. In addition, it should be noted that the low intensity irrigation schedule has lower impacts on increasing stream temperature, whereas the high intensity irrigation schedule will further exacerbate the rise of stream temperature. Understanding the different impacts of climate change scenarios and irrigation schedules on stream temperature can help identify climate-sensitive regions, climate-sensitive seasons and water diversion schedules as well as assist in planning for climate change and social adaptive management.


Steam temperature Climate change VIC-ANN model Water diversion Eel River Basin 



The authors thank William E. Dietrich and his research team members for contributing both data and valuable insights to this study. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51379148, 51579183, 91647106 and 51525902) and National Science Foundation CZP EAR-1331940 for the Eel River Critical Zone Observatory. Great thanks to Xi Xuan Yu from McGill University (Canada) to polish this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dedi Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yao Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shenglian Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lihua Xiong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qin Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Hubei Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center for Water Resource SecurityWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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