Assessing the response of runoff to climate change and human activities for a typical basin in the Northern Taihang Mountain, China

  • Jinfeng Wang
  • Yanchuan Gao
  • Sheng Wang


Climate change and human activities are the two main factors on runoff change. Quantifying the contribution of climate change and human activities on runoff change is important for water resources planning and management. In this study, the variation trend and abrupt change point of hydro-meteorological factors during 1960–2012 were detected by using the Mann–Kendall test and Pettitt change-point statistics. Then the runoff was simulated by SWAT model. The contribution of climate change and human activities on runoff change was calculated based on the SWAT model and the elasticity coefficient method. The results showed that in contrast to the increasing trend for annual temperature, the significant decreasing trends were detected for annual runoff and precipitation, with an abrupt change point in 1982. The simulated results of SWAT had good consistency with observed ones, and the values of \(R^{2}\) and \(E_{NS}\) all exceeded 0.75. The two methods used for assessing the contribution of climate change and human activities on runoff reduction yielded consistent results. The contribution of climate change (precipitation reduction and temperature rise) was \({\sim }37.5\%\), while the contribution of human activities (the increase of economic forest and built-up land, hydrologic projects) was \({\sim }62.5\%\).


Runoff variation climate change human activities SWAT model elasticity coefficient method Taihang Mountain 



This research was funded by the National Key Project for Basic Research (973; No. 2015CB452705), the National Key Project for Research and Development (No. 2016YFC0501605), the Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41430861) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40871198). We thank Maofeng Liu and Guojing Gan for helpful reviews of the original manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geograghical Science Shanxi Normal UniversityLinfenChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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