Water Resources Management

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 439–458 | Cite as

Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources in the Tarim River Basin

  • Z. X. Xu
  • Y. N. Chen
  • J. Y. Li


The plausible association between climate change and the variability of water resources in the Tarim River basin, west China is investigated in this study. The long-term trend of the hydrological time series including temperature, precipitation, and streamflow are detected by using both parametric and nonparametric techniques. The possible association between the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and these three kinds of time series are tested. This study enhances the knowledge of the climate change impact on water resources in the Tarim River basin. The conclusion obtained in this investigation shows that the temperature experienced a significant monotonic increase at the 5% level of significance during the past 50 yr, and precipitation also exhibited an upward tendency during the past several decades. A significant jump is also detected for both time series around 1986. This may be resulted from the possible impact of climate change, although the interior climate mechanism needs further investigation. Although precipitation and the streamflow from the headwater of the Tarim River exhibited significant increase, decreasing trend has been detected in the streamflow along the mainstream of the river. It implies that anthropogenic activities instead of the climate change dominated the streamflow cessation and the drying-up of the river. Results also showed that no significant association exists between the ENSO and the temperature, precipitation and streamflow in the study area. This conclusion shows that the water curtailment, river desiccation, and ecosystem deterioration in the Tarim River basin may be mainly resulted from the impact of human activities.

climate change ENSO nonparametric test parametric test precipitation water resources 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. X. Xu
    • 1
  • Y. N. Chen
    • 2
  • J. Y. Li
    • 3
  1. 1.Institue for Water SciencesSchool of Environment, Beijing Normal UniversityP. R. China
  2. 2.Xinjiang Institute of Ecology & GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiP. R. China
  3. 3.School of Continuing Education and Teacher TrainingBeijing Normal UniversityP. R. China

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