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Forests 2019, 10(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020184

Attribution Analysis for Runoff Change on Multiple Scales in a Humid Subtropical Basin Dominated by Forest, East China

1
School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
2
Big Data Research Center, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China
4
Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK
5
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
6
School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 January 2019 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Hydrology and Watershed)
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Abstract

Attributing runoff change to different drivers is vital in order to better understand how and why runoff varies, and to further support decision makers on water resources planning and management. Most previous works attributed runoff change in the arid or semi-arid areas to climate variability and human activity on an annual scale. However, attribution results may differ greatly according to different climatic zones, decades, temporal scales, and different contributors. This study aims to quantitatively attribute runoff change in a humid subtropical basin (the Qingliu River basin, East China) to climate variability, land-use change, and human activity on multiple scales over different periods by using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. The results show that runoff increased during 1960–2012 with an abrupt change occurring in 1984. Annual runoff in the post-change period (1985–2012) increased by 16.05% (38.05 mm) relative to the pre-change period (1960–1984), most of which occurred in the winter and early spring (March). On the annual scale, climate variability, human activity, and land-use change (mainly for forest cover decrease) contributed 95.36%, 4.64%, and 12.23% to runoff increase during 1985–2012, respectively. On the seasonal scale, human activity dominated runoff change (accounting for 72.11%) in the dry season during 1985–2012, while climate variability contributed the most to runoff change in the wet season. On the monthly scale, human activity was the dominant contributor to runoff variation in all of the months except for January, May, July, and August during 1985–2012. Impacts of climate variability and human activity on runoff during 2001–2012 both became stronger than those during 1985–2000, but counteracted each other. The findings should help understandings of runoff behavior in the Qingliu River and provide scientific support for local water resources management. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate variability; land-use change; human activities; SWAT climate variability; land-use change; human activities; SWAT
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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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Yang, Q.; Luo, S.; Wu, H.; Wang, G.; Han, D.; Lü, H.; Shao, J. Attribution Analysis for Runoff Change on Multiple Scales in a Humid Subtropical Basin Dominated by Forest, East China. Forests 2019, 10, 184.

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