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Water 2015, 7(10), 5638-5656; doi:10.3390/w7105638

Runoff and Sediment Yield Variations in Response to Precipitation Changes: A Case Study of Xichuan Watershed in the Loess Plateau, China

1,2,* and 1,2
1
College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
2
Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100871, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Yingkui Li and Michael A. Urban
Received: 22 August 2015 / Revised: 1 October 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resource Variability and Climate Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1534 KB, uploaded 19 October 2015]   |  

Abstract

The impacts of climate change on hydrological cycles and water resource distribution is particularly concerned with environmentally vulnerable areas, such as the Loess Plateau, where precipitation scarcity leads to or intensifies serious water related problems including water resource shortages, land degradation, and serious soil erosion. Based on a geographical information system (GIS), and using gauged hydrological data from 2001 to 2010, digital land-use and soil maps from 2005, a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was applied to the Xichuan Watershed, a typical hilly-gullied area in the Loess Plateau, China. The relative error, coefficient of determination, and Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient were used to analyze the accuracy of runoffs and sediment yields simulated by the model. Runoff and sediment yield variations were analyzed under different precipitation scenarios. The increases in runoff and sediment with increased precipitation were greater than their decreases with reduced precipitation, and runoff was more sensitive to the variations of precipitation than was sediment yield. The coefficients of variation (CVs) of the runoff and sediment yield increased with increasing precipitation, and the CV of the sediment yield was more sensitive to small rainfall. The annual runoff and sediment yield fluctuated greatly, and their variation ranges and CVs were large when precipitation increased by 20%. The results provide local decision makers with scientific references for water resource utilization and soil and water conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: SWAT model; precipitation; runoff; sediment yield; simulation; the Xichuan River; the Loess Plateau SWAT model; precipitation; runoff; sediment yield; simulation; the Xichuan River; the Loess Plateau
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

Li, T.; Gao, Y. Runoff and Sediment Yield Variations in Response to Precipitation Changes: A Case Study of Xichuan Watershed in the Loess Plateau, China. Water 2015, 7, 5638-5656.

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