Climatic Change

, Volume 141, Issue 3, pp 533–546 | Cite as

Impacts of climate change on streamflow in the upper Yangtze River basin

  • Buda Su
  • Jinlong Huang
  • Xiaofan Zeng
  • Chao Gao
  • Tong Jiang


The impacts of climate change on streamflow in the upper Yangtze River basin were studied using four hydrological models driven by bias-corrected climate projections from five General Circulation Models under four Representative Concentration Pathways. The basin hydrological responses to climate forcing in future mid-century (2036–2065) and end-century (2070–2099) periods were assessed via comparison of simulation results in these periods to those in the reference period (1981–2010). An analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach was used to quantify the uncertainty sources associated with the climate inputs and hydrological model structures. Overall, the annual average discharge, seasonal high flow, and daily peak discharge were projected to increase in most cases in the twenty-first century but with considerable variability between models under the conditions of increasing temperature and a small to moderate increase in precipitation. Uncertainties in the projections increase over the time and are associated with hydrological model structures, but climate inputs represent the largest source of uncertainty in the upper Yangtze projections. This study assessed streamflow projections without considering water management practices within the basin.


Hydrological modeling Climate change Uncertainty The upper Yangtze River 



This study was jointly supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (2013CB430205, 2012CB955903), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51309105, 91547208), and the Sino-German Cooperation Group Project (GZ912). The authors would like to thank the ISI-MIP modeling group for providing the climate data.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1852_MOESM1_ESM.docx (920 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 920 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisasterNanjing University of Information Science &TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.National Climate Center, China Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of Hydropower & Information EngineeringHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  5. 5.College of Territorial Resources and TourismAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuChina

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