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Water 2017, 9(8), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080584

Multi–Model Ensemble Approaches to Assessment of Effects of Local Climate Change on Water Resources of the Hotan River Basin in Xinjiang, China

1
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 830011 Urumqi, China
2
Department of Geography, Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
3
University of Chinese Academy of Science, 100049 Beijing, China
4
Sino-Belgian Joint Laboratory of Geo-information, 830011 Urumqi, China
5
Research Fund Flanders (FWO), 1000 Brussels, Belgium
6
Sino-Belgian Joint Laboratory of Geo-information, 9000 Gent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources)
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Abstract

The effects of global climate change threaten the availability of water resources worldwide and modify their tempo-spatial pattern. Properly quantifying the possible effects of climate change on water resources under different hydrological models is a great challenge in ungauged alpine regions. By using remote sensing data to support established models, this study aimed to reveal the effects of climate change using two models of hydrological processes including total water resources, peak flows, evapotranspiration, snowmelt and snow accumulation in the ungauged Hotan River Basin under future representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios. The results revealed that stream flow was much more sensitive to temperature variation than precipitation change and increased by 0.9–10.0% according to MIKE SHE or 6.5–10.5% according to SWAT. Increased evapotranspiration was similar for both models with a range of 7.6–31.3%. The snow-covered area shrank from 32.5% to 11.9% between the elevations of 4200–6400 m, respectively, and snow accumulation increased when the elevation exceeded 6400 m above sea level (asl). The results also suggested that the fully distributed and semi-distributed structures of these two models strongly influenced the responses to climate change. The study proposes a practical approach to assess the climate change effect in ungauged regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: general circulation models; climate change; hydrologic model; snow storage; Hotan River Basin general circulation models; climate change; hydrologic model; snow storage; Hotan River Basin
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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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Luo, M.; Meng, F.; Liu, T.; Duan, Y.; Frankl, A.; Kurban, A.; De Maeyer, P. Multi–Model Ensemble Approaches to Assessment of Effects of Local Climate Change on Water Resources of the Hotan River Basin in Xinjiang, China. Water 2017, 9, 584.

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