Climate change in Northwest China could lead to the change of the hydrological cycle and water resources. This paper assessed the influence of climate change on runoff in the Manas River basin as follows. First, the temporal trends and abrupt change points of runoff, precipitation, and mean, lowest and highest temperature in yearly scale during the period of 1961–2015 were analyzed using the Mann-Kendall (MK) test. Then the correlation between runoff and climatic variables was characterized in a monthly, seasonal and yearly scale using the partial correlation method. Furthermore, three global climate models (GCMs) from Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) were bias-corrected using Equidistant Cumulative Distribution Functions (EDCDF) method to reveal the future climate change during the period from 2021 to 2060 compared with the baseline period of 1961–2000. The influence of climate change on runoff was studied by simulating the runoff with the GCMs using a modified TOPMODEL considering the future snowmelt during the period from 2021 to 2060. The results showed that the runoff, precipitation, and mean, lowest and highest temperature all presented an increasing trend in yearly scale during the period of 1961–2015, and their abrupt change points were at a similar time; the runoff series was more strongly related to temperature than to precipitation in the spring, autumn and yearly scales, and the opposite was true in winter. All GCMs projected precipitation and temperature, and the runoff simulated with these GCMs were predicted to increase in the period from 2021 to 2060 compared with the baseline period of 1961–2000. These findings provide valuable information for assessing the influence of climate change on water resources in the Manas River basin, and references for water management in such regions.
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