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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12057-12081; doi:10.3390/ijerph121012057

Climate Change and Its Impact on the Eco-Environment of the Three-Rivers Headwater Region on the Tibetan Plateau, China

1,2,3,4,* and 2,3,*
1
College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
3
Key Laboratory of Regional Eco-Process and Function Assessment and State Environment Protection, Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
4
Joint Center for Global Change Studies, Beijing 100875, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yu-pin Lin
Received: 2 August 2015 / Revised: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
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Abstract

This study analyzes the impact of climate change on the eco-environment of the Three-Rivers Headwater Region (TRHR), Tibetan Plateau, China. Temperature and precipitation experienced sharp increases in this region during the past 57 years. A dramatic increase in winter temperatures contributed to a rise in average annual temperatures. Moreover, annual runoff in the Lancang (LRB) and Yangtze (YARB) river basins showed an increasing trend, compared to a slight decrease in the Yellow River Basin (YRB). Runoff is predominantly influenced by rainfall, which is controlled by several monsoon systems. The water temperature in the YRB and YARB increased significantly from 1958 to 2007 (p < 0.001), driven by air temperature changes. Additionally, owing to warming and wetting trends in the TRHR, the net primary productivity (NPP) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) showed significant increasing trends during the past half-century. Furthermore, although an increase in water erosion due to rainfall erosivity was observed, wind speeds declined significantly, causing a decline in wind erosion, as well as the frequency and duration of sandstorms. A clear regional warming trend caused an obvious increasing trend in glacier runoff, with a maximum value observed in the 2000s. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; water resources; water environment; vegetation growth; soil erosion; glacier; snow climate change; water resources; water environment; vegetation growth; soil erosion; glacier; snow
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jiang, C.; Zhang, L. Climate Change and Its Impact on the Eco-Environment of the Three-Rivers Headwater Region on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 12057-12081.

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