Due to climate change and human activities, the statistical characteristics of annual runoff series of many rivers around the world exhibit complex nonstationary changes, which seriously impact the frequency analysis of annual runoff and are thus becoming a hotspot of research. A variety of nonstationary frequency analysis methods has been proposed by many scholars, but their reliability and accuracy in practical application are still controversial. The recently proposed Mechanism-based Reconstruction (Me-RS) method is a method to deal with nonstationary changes in hydrological series, which solves the frequency analysis problem of the nonstationary hydrological series by transforming nonstationary series into stationary Me-RS series. Based on the Me-RS method, a calculation method of design annual runoff under the nonstationary conditions is proposed in this paper and applied to the Jialu River Basin (JRB) in northern Shaanxi, China. From the aspects of rationality and uncertainty, the calculated design value of annual runoff is analyzed and evaluated. Then, compared with the design values calculated by traditional frequency analysis method regardless of whether the sample series is stationary, the correctness of the Me-RS theory and its application reliability is demonstrated. The results show that calculation of design annual runoff based on the Me-RS method is not only scientific in theory, but also the obtained design values are relatively consistent with the characteristics of the river basin, and the uncertainty is obviously smaller. Therefore, the Me-RS provides an effective tool for annual runoff frequency analysis under nonstationary conditions.
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