Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 358–367 | Cite as

Effect of climate variability and human activities on runoff in the Jinghe River Basin, Northwest China

  • Jun-qiang Yao
  • Qiu-dong Zhao
  • Zhi-hui LiuEmail author


Much attention has recently been focused on the effects of climate variability and human activities on the runoff. In this study, we analyzed 56-yr (1957–2012) runoff change and patterns in the Jinghe River Basin (JRB) in the arid region of northwest China. The nonparametric Mann-Kendall test and the precipitation-runoff double cumulative curve (PRDCC) were used to identify change trend and abrupt change points in the annual runoff. It was found that the runoff in the JRB has periodically fluctuated in the past 56 yr. Abrupt change point in annual runoff was identified in the JRB, which occurred in the years around 1964 and 1996 dividing the long-term hydrologic series into a natural period (1957–1964) and a climate and man-induced period (1965–1996 and 1997–2012). In the 1965–1996 period, human activities were the main factor that decreased runoff with contribution of 88.9%, while climate variability only accounted for 11.1%. However, the impact of climate variability has been increased from 11.1% to 47.5% during 1997–2012, showing that runoff in JRB is more sensitive to climate variability during global warming. This study distinguishes the effect of climate variability from human activities on runoff, which can do duty for a reference for regional water resources assessment and management.


Water resource Runoff Climate variability Precipitation Jinghe River Basin 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and Environment Science, Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology of Ministry of EducationXinjiang UniversityUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Xinjiang Climate CenterXinjiang Meteorological AdministrationUrumqiChina
  3. 3.Institute of Desert MeteorologyChina Meteorological AdministrationUrumqiChina
  4. 4.Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  5. 5.Institute of Arid Ecology and EnvironmentXinjiang UniversityUrumqiChina

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