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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATION OF CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND FORECASTS INTO RISK-BASED MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND RESOURCE CONSERVATION Title: Assessing and regulating the impacts of climate change on water resources in the Heihe watershed on the Loess Plateau of China

Authors
item Li, Zhi - ISWC, YANGLING
item Liu, Wen-Zhao - ISWC, YANGLING
item Zhang, Xunchang

Submitted to: Science in China
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 5, 2009
Publication Date: March 23, 2010
Citation: Li, Z., Liu, W., Zhang, X.J. 2010. Assessing and regulating the impacts of climate change on water resources in the Heihe watershed on the Loess Plateau of China. Science China, Earth Science. 53(5):710-720.

Interpretive Summary: Climate change may affect surface hydrology and agricultural production in many parts of the world. The objectives were to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change during 2010-2039 on surface hydrology (runoff, soil water contents and evapotranspiration) in the Heihe watershed on the Loess Plateau of China and to further explore adaptive measures to cope with the changes. Projections of four global climate models under three greenhouse gas emission scenarios were used. The computer model of SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was employed to simulate the hydrologic responses. Compared with the present climate, the global climate models predicted a -2.3 to 7.8% change in annual precipitation, 0.7 to 2.2 degree (Celsius) rise in maximum temperature, and 1.2 to 2.8 degree (Celsius) rises in minimum temperature. Without consideration of landuse change, SWAT predicted a -19.8 to 37.0% change for runoff, a -5.5 to 17.2% change for soil water content, and a 0.1 to 5.9% increase for evapotranspiration (ET) during 2010-2039 under all climate scenarios. With landuse changes, the projected landuse of 2015 would increase soil water content by 3.1% and surface runoff by 5.4% while slightly decrease ET by 0.6% compared with the 2000 landuse. This result showed that adjustment of landuse patterns was capable of regulating surface hydrology under projected climate changes. This information would be useful to conservationists and policy makers to make strategic plans to conserve natural resources under climate change.

Technical Abstract: Climate change can cause considerable changes in surface hydrology on the Loess Plateau. The objectives were to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change during 2010-2039 on surface hydrology (runoff, soil water contents and evapotranspiration) in the Heihe watershed on the Loess Plateau of China and to further explore adaptive measures to cope with the changes. Projections of four climate models (CCSR/NIES, CGCM2, CSIRO-Mk2 and HadCM3) under three emission scenarios (A2, B2 and GGa) were used to estimate future changes in precipitation, maximum and minimum temperature based on a Change Factor method. The SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was employed to simulate the hydrologic responses. The CA-Markov model was used to develop landuse scenarios. Compared with the present climate, the climate models predicted a -2.3 to 7.8% change in annual precipitation, 0.7 to 2.2 degree (Celsius) rise in maximum temperature, and 1.2 to 2.8 degree (Celsius) rises in minimum temperature. Without consideration of landuse change, SWAT predicted a -19.8 to 37.0% change for runoff, a -5.5 to 17.2% change for soil water content, and a 0.1 to 5.9% increase for evapotranspiration (ET) during 2010-2039 under all climate scenarios. With landuse changes, the projected landuse of 2015 would increase soil water content by 3.1% and surface runoff by 5.4% while slightly decrease ET by 0.6% compared with the 2000 landuse. This result showed that adjustment of landuse patterns was capable of regulating surface hydrology and could be used to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014
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