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Changes in Glacial Meltwater Runoff and Its Response to Climate Change in the Tianshan Region Detected Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Satellite Remote Sensing

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College of Resource and Environmental Science, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046, China
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CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra 2601, Australia
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College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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School of Environment Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen 518000, China
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Faculty of Geographical Science, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Pulido-Velázquez
Water 2021, 13(13), 1753; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131753
Received: 31 May 2021 / Revised: 19 June 2021 / Accepted: 20 June 2021 / Published: 25 June 2021
The Tianshan Mountains, known as the “water tower” of Central Asia, are the major source of water for the most part of Xinjiang and oasis region of Central Asia. However, climate warming has amplified the discharges of glacial meltwater in the Tianshan Mountains. In this study, we calculated river discharge by integrating cross-sections mapped using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and water velocity data collected in the field. Multiple remote sensing images, such as Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery, were applied to estimate the long-term discharge of 19 river sections in ungauged regions of the Tianshan Mountains. River discharge variations under climate change were also examined. Using our in-situ measured discharges as reference, the UAV derived discharge results have an NSE (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency) of 0.98, an RMSE (root mean square error) of 8.49 m3/s, and an average qualification rate of 80%. The monthly discharge of glacial meltwater-dominated river sections showed an average decrease of 2.46% during 1989–2019. The shrinking and even disappearance of mountain glaciers (approximately −4.98 km2/year) was the main reasons for the decrease trend. However, the precipitation-dominated river sections showed an average increase of 2.27% for the same period. The increase in precipitation (approximately 1.93 mm/year) was the key cause for the increase tendency. This study highlights remote sensing hydrological station technology and its application in the long-term prediction of river discharge, which is critical for decision-making regarding integrated water resource management in alpine regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; discharge; remote sensing hydrological station; river section; trend climate change; discharge; remote sensing hydrological station; river section; trend
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wufu, A.; Chen, Y.; Yang, S.; Lou, H.; Wang, P.; Li, C.; Wang, J.; Ma, L. Changes in Glacial Meltwater Runoff and Its Response to Climate Change in the Tianshan Region Detected Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Satellite Remote Sensing. Water 2021, 13, 1753. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131753

AMA Style

Wufu A, Chen Y, Yang S, Lou H, Wang P, Li C, Wang J, Ma L. Changes in Glacial Meltwater Runoff and Its Response to Climate Change in the Tianshan Region Detected Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Satellite Remote Sensing. Water. 2021; 13(13):1753. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131753

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wufu, Adilai, Yun Chen, Shengtian Yang, Hezhen Lou, Pengfei Wang, Chaojun Li, Juan Wang, and Ligang Ma. 2021. "Changes in Glacial Meltwater Runoff and Its Response to Climate Change in the Tianshan Region Detected Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Satellite Remote Sensing" Water 13, no. 13: 1753. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131753

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