The Yellow River Basin has been affected by global climate change. Studying the spatial–temporal variability of the hydrothermal climate conditions in the Yellow River Basin is of vital importance for the development of technologies and policies related to ecological, environmental, and agricultural adaptation in this region. This study selected temperature and precipitation data observed from 118 meteorological stations distributed in the Yellow River Basin over the period of 1957–2015, and used the Mann–Kendall, Pettitt, and Hurst indices to investigate the spatial–temporal variability of the hydrothermal climate conditions in this area. The results indicated: (1) the annual maximum, minimum, and average temperatures have increased. The seasonal maximum, minimum, and average temperatures for the spring, summer, autumn, and winter have also increased, and this trend is statistically significant (p
< 0.01) between 1957–2015. The rate of increase in the minimum temperature exceeded that of the maximum temperature, and diurnal warming was asymmetric. Annual precipitation and the total spring, summer, and autumn precipitations declined, while the total winter precipitation increased, although the trend was non-significant (p
> 0.05). (2) Based on the very restrictive assumption that future changes will be similar to past changes, according to the Hurst index experiment, the future trends of temperature and precipitation in the Yellow River Basin are expected to stay the same as in the past. There will be a long-term correlation between the two trends: the temperature will continue to rise, while the precipitation will continue to decline (except in the winter). However, over the late stage of the study period, the trends slowed down to some extent.
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