Water Resources Management

, Volume 29, Issue 13, pp 4701–4717 | Cite as

Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Change and Hydrological Responses under Consistent Climate Change Scenarios in the Heihe River Basin, China

  • Ling Zhang
  • Zhuotong NanEmail author
  • Wenjun Yu
  • Yingchun Ge


This study investigated land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) and hydrological responses under consistent climate change scenarios (A1B and B1) in the Heihe River Basin (HRB), a typical arid inland river basin in northwest China. LUCC was first projected using the Dynamic Conversion of Land-Use and its Effects (Dyna-CLUE) model. Two cases (Case 1 and Case 2) were then established to quantify the hydrological responses to single climate change and the combined responses to climate change and LUCC with the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The results of LUCC modeling under the A1B and B1 scenarios present distinct regional characteristics and also indicate that the projected future land-use patterns are not appreciably different than the actual map for the year 2000. In Case 1, which only considers the impacts of single climate change, overall, the streamflow at the outlet of the upper HRB is projected to decline, whereas at the outlet of the middle HRB to increase, under both climate change scenarios. Meanwhile, the frequency of occurrence of hydrological extremes is expect to increase under both scenarios. In Case 2, which considers the combined impacts of climate change and LUCC, the changes in streamflow and frequency of hydrological extremes are found to be remarkably consistent with those in Case 1. The results imply that climate change rather than LUCC are primarily responsible for the hydrological variations. The role of LUCC varies with regions in the context of climate change dominated hydrological responses.


LUCC Hydrological responses Climate change Heihe River Basin SWAT 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 91125006 and 91125005). The authors thank the Scientific Data Center in Cold and Arid Regions and the China Meteorological Data Sharing Service System for providing the data. The authors also would like to extend their gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions to this paper.


  1. Ashraf Vaghefi S, Mousavi S, Abbaspour K, Srinivasan R, Yang H (2014) Analyses of the impact of climate change on water resources components, drought and wheat yield in semiarid regions: Karkheh river basin in Iran. Hydrol Process 28:2018–2032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker TJ, Miller SN (2013) Using the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) to assess land use impact on water resources in an east African watershed. J Hydrol 486:100–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyer C, Chaumont D, Chartier I, Roy AG (2010) Impact of climate change on the hydrology of St Lawrence tributaries. J Hydrol 384:65–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen Y, Li Z, Fan Y, Wang H, Deng H (2015) Progress and prospects of climate change impacts on hydrology in the arid region of northwest China. Environ Res 139:11–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Elfert S, Bormann H (2010) Simulated impact of past and possible future land use changes on the hydrological response of the Northern German lowland ‘Hunte’catchment. J Hydrol 383:245–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Feng X, Zhang G, Yin X (2011) Hydrological responses to climate change in Nenjiang river basin, northeastern China. Water Resour Manag 25:677–689. doi: 10.1007/s11269-010-9720-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gordon C et al (2000) The simulation of SST, sea ice extents and ocean heat transports in a version of the Hadley centre coupled model without flux adjustments. Clim Dynam 16:147–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hurkmans R, Terink W, Uijlenhoet R, Moors E, Troch P, Verburg P (2009) Effects of land use changes on streamflow generation in the Rhine basin. Water Resour Res 45, W06405Google Scholar
  9. Jung IW, Chang H (2011) Assessment of future runoff trends under multiple climate change scenarios in the Willamette River Basin, Oregon, USA. Hydrol Process 25:258–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Khoi DN, Suetsugi T (2014) The responses of hydrological processes and sediment yield to land‐use and climate change in the Be River Catchment, Vietnam. Hydrol Process 28:640–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kim J, Choi J, Choi C, Park S (2013) Impacts of changes in climate and land use/land cover under IPCC RCP scenarios on streamflow in the Hoeya River Basin, Korea. Sci Total Environ 452:181–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kopytkovskiy M, Geza M, McCray J (2015) Climate-change impacts on water resources and hydropower potential in the Upper Colorado River Basin. J Hydrol Reg Stud 3:473–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lai Z, Li S, Li C, Nan Z, Yu W (2013) Improvement and applications of SWAT Model in the Upper-middle Heihe River Basin (in Chinese). J Nat Resour Policy Res 28:1404–1413Google Scholar
  14. Li F (2007) Reasearch of cliamte changes and responses of hydrology and water resources in the upper reaches of Heihe River (in Chinese). HoHai University, NanjingGoogle Scholar
  15. Li B, Chen Y, Chen Z, Li W (2012) Trends in runoff versus climate change in typical rivers in the arid region of northwest China. Quatern Int 282:87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liston GE, Elder K (2006) A meteorological distribution system for high-resolution terrestrial modeling (MicroMet). J Hydrometeorol 7:217–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Merz R, Parajka J, Blöschl G (2011) Time stability of catchment model parameters: implications for climate impact analyses. Water Resour Res 47, W02531Google Scholar
  18. Moriasi D, Arnold J, Van Liew M, Bingner R, Harmel R, Veith T (2007) Model evaluation guidelines for systematic quantification of accuracy in watershed simulations. T ASABE 50:885–900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Morita T (1999) Greenhouse gas emission scenario database ver 5.0 operating manual. National Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Global Environmental Research, JapanGoogle Scholar
  20. Nash J, Sutcliffe JV (1970) River flow forecasting through conceptual models part I—a discussion of principles. J Hydrol 10:282–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Neitsch SL, Arnold JG, Kiniry JR, Williams JR (2011) Soil and water assessment tool theoretical documentation: version 2009. Texas Water Resources Institute, College Station, TexasGoogle Scholar
  22. Nian Y, Li X, Zhou J, Hu X (2014) Impact of land use change on water resource allocation in the middle reaches of the Heihe River Basin in northwestern China. J Arid Land 6:273–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Park J, Park M, Joh H, Shin H, Kwon H, Srinivasan R, Kim S (2011) Assessment of MIROC 3. 2 HiRes climate and CLUE-s land Use change impacts on watershed hydrology using SWAT. T ASABE 54:1713–1724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Perazzoli M, Pinheiro A, Kaufmann V (2013) Assessing the impact of climate change scenarios on water resources in southern Brazil. Hydrolog Sci J 58:77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Qi S, Sun G, Wang Y, McNulty S, Myers JM (2009) Streamflow response to climate and landuse changes in a coastal watershed in North Carolina. T ASABE 52:739–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rahman M, Bolisetti T, Balachandar R (2012) Hydrologic modelling to assess the climate change impacts in a Southern Ontario watershed. Can J Civil Eng 39:91–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Reusser DE, Blume T, Schaefli B, Zehe E (2009) Analysing the temporal dynamics of model performance for hydrological models. Hydrol Earth Syst Sc 13:999–1018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shi P et al (2011) Evaluating the SWAT model for hydrological modeling in the Xixian watershed and a comparison with the XAJ model. Water Resour Manag 25:2595–2612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shi P et al (2013) Effects of land-use and climate change on hydrological processes in the Upstream of Huai River, China. Water Resour Manag 27:1263–1278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tanzeeba S, Gan TY (2012) Potential impact of climate change on the water availability of South Saskatchewan River Basin. Clim Change 112:355–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tong ST, Sun Y, Ranatunga T, He J, Yang YJ (2012) Predicting plausible impacts of sets of climate and land use change scenarios on water resources. Appl Geogr 32:477–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tu J (2009) Combined impact of climate and land use changes on streamflow and water quality in eastern Massachusetts, USA. J Hydrol 379:268–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Verburg PH, Overmars KP (2009) Combining top-down and bottom-up dynamics in land use modeling: exploring the future of abandoned farmlands in Europe with the Dyna-CLUE model. Landscape Ecol 24:1167–1181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Verburg PH, Soepboer W, Veldkamp A, Limpiada R, Espaldon V, Mastura SSA (2002) Modeling the spatial dynamics of regional land use: the CLUE-S model. Environ Manage 30:391–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Verburg PH, de Nijs T, Ritsema van Eck J, Visser H, de Jong K (2004) A method to analyse neighbourhood characteristics of land use patterns. Comput Environ Urban Syst 28:667–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Verburg PH, Overmars KP, Huigen MGA, de Groot WT, Veldkamp A (2006) Analysis of the effects of land use change on protected areas in the Philippines. Appl Geogr 26:153–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Viola MR, Mello CR, Beskow S, Norton LD (2014) Impacts of land-use changes on the hydrology of the Grande river basin headwaters, southeastern Brazil. Water Resour Manag 28:4537–4550. doi: 10.1007/s11269-014-0749-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang C, Zhang X (2010) Effect of the recent climate change on water resource in Heihe river basin (in Chinese). J Arid Land Resour Environ 04:60–65Google Scholar
  39. Wang Y, H-l X, Wang R-f (2009) Water scarcity and water use in economic systems in Zhangye City, Northwestern China. Water Resour Manag 23:2655–2668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wijesekara G, Gupta A, Valeo C, Hasbani J-G, Qiao Y, Delaney P, Marceau D (2012) Assessing the impact of future land-use changes on hydrological processes in the Elbow River watershed in southern Alberta, Canada. J Hydrol 412:220–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wu Z, Guo H, Jin J, Yan G (2010) Extreme hydrologic event response to climate change scenario in Heihe Basin. Water Resour Power 28:7–9Google Scholar
  42. Wu F, Zhan J, Güneralp İ (2014a) Present and future of urban water balance in the rapidly urbanizing Heihe River basin, northwest China. Ecol Model. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.11.032
  43. Wu F, Zhan J, Su H, Yan H, Ma E (2014b) Scenario-Based Impact Assessment of Land Use/Cover and Climate Changes on Watershed Hydrology in Heihe River Basin of Northwest China. Adv Meteorol. in pressGoogle Scholar
  44. Xu C-y (1999) Climate change and hydrologic models: a review of existing gaps and recent research developments. Water Resour Manag 13:369–382. doi: 10.1023/A:1008190900459 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Xu Y, Ding Y, Zhao Z (2002) Detection and evaluation of effect of human activist on climatic change in East Asia in recent 30 years (in Chinese). J Applied Meter Sci 13:513–525Google Scholar
  46. Xu Y-P, Zhang X, Ran Q, Tian Y (2013) Impact of climate change on hydrology of upper reaches of qiantang river basin, east China. J Hydrol 483:51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yi Q, Chen X, Xie Y (2004) Comparative analysis of the “52.7” and “96.8” floods in Heihe River. Inner Mongolia Water Resources:60–61Google Scholar
  48. Zhang K, Wang R, Han H, Wang X, Si J (2007) Hydrological and water resources effects under climate change in heihe river basin. Resources Sci 01:77–83 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  49. Zhang A, Zhang C, Fu G, Wang B, Bao Z, Zheng H (2012) Assessments of impacts of climate change and human activities on runoff with SWAT for the Huifa River Basin, Northeast China. Water Resour Manag 26:2199–2217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhang A, Zheng C, Wang S, Yao Y (2015) Analysis of streamflow variations in the Heihe river basin, northwest china: trends, abrupt changes, driving factors and ecological influences. J Hydrol Reg Stud 3:106–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhou F, Xu Y, Chen Y, Xu C-Y, Gao Y, Du J (2013) Hydrological response to urbanization at different spatio-temporal scales simulated by coupling of CLUE-S and the SWAT model in the Yangtze River Delta region. J Hydrol 485:113–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ling Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhuotong Nan
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Wenjun Yu
    • 1
  • Yingchun Ge
    • 1
  1. 1.Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Geography ScienceNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations