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Water 2018, 10(7), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10070902

Snowmelt Water Alters the Regime of Runoff in the Arid Region of Northwest China

1
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A & F University, Yangling 712100, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 8 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Seasonal snowmelt water from mountainous areas is critical for water supply in arid regions. Snowmelt profoundly affects the parameterization of the Budyko framework, which describes the long-term relationship between precipitation and runoff. This is true in Xinjiang, a representative arid region in Northwest China. However, the effects of snowmelt water on the water balance in this region remain unclear. Based on observed runoff data in 64 catchments of Xinjiang during 2000–2010, we analyzed the effects of meltwater in the local water balance both spatially and temporally through the Budyko curve and redundancy analysis (RDA) methods, and then investigated the influences of changing meltwater on runoff. Inclusion of snowmelt water into the item of the water availability significantly improved the performance of the Budyko equation for predicting runoff. The results of RDA showed that snowmelt water, potential evaporation (PET), and rainfall combined explained 66% of the spatial variations in runoff, while the individual effects of snowmelt water, PET, and rainfall were 19%, 13%, and 1%, respectively, with the interactions among the three variables being 16%. These results suggest that the accelerating changes of meltwater due to climate warming will significantly alter the regimes of runoff in these regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: snowmelt water; runoff; Budyko framework; rainfall; snow cover; arid regions snowmelt water; runoff; Budyko framework; rainfall; snow cover; arid regions
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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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Bai, J.; Li, J.; Shi, H.; Liu, T.; Zhong, R. Snowmelt Water Alters the Regime of Runoff in the Arid Region of Northwest China. Water 2018, 10, 902.

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