Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2022) | Viewed by 11450

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
Interests: hillslope hydrology; alpine hydrology; hydrologic similarity and classification; runoff processes and modelling; digital drainage algorithm; soil thickness evolution; critical zone observations

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Guest Editor
China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100048, China
Interests: climate change and water resources; drought risk; non-stationary; statistics of extreme values; hydrological frequency
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi’an 710027, China
Interests: cryohydrology; water chemistry; isotopic hydrology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Interests: ecohydrology and geomorphology of water-controlled ecosystem; self-organized vegetation patterning processes; hydropedology and soil hydrology; coupling hydropedology and ecohydrology
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
Interests: critical zone science; experimental hydrology; hydrological connectivity; hillslope surface and subsurface flow interaction; rainfall–runoff response; geophysical mapping of hillslope structure

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mountains serve as a significant source of freshwater for nearby lowlands and, by extension, for ecosystems and society. Recent studies suggest that mountain blocks may provide resilience to water resource development through storage and delayed discharge in glaciers, snowpacks, permafrost, and complex mountain aquifers. Nonetheless, the effects of water storage and delayed discharge as a regionally important buffer have been greatly underestimated. Not only that, but our advances in mountain runoff regimes have also slowed down other fields of hydrology. Moreover, mountainous catchments are extremely sensitive and vulnerable to climate change and human activities. Therefore, it is vital to understand the mechanisms and long-term changes of runoff in mountainous areas and thus quantify the vulnerability of water resources for resilience utility.

We invite original research articles that contribute to ongoing efforts to understand hydrological regimes and assess the vulnerability of mountainous water resources under global changes. Among the topics of interest for this Special Issue are:

  • Critical zone structures and flow pathways, and transit time in mountains through geophysical and geochemical techniques;
  • Aquifers in various geomorphic units and groundwater evolution in mountain blocks;
  • Vulnerability of hydrological regimes (storage–discharge) in response to interannual fluctuations in precipitation and to climate changes and human activities;
  • Coevolution of climate–terrain–soil–vegetation in determining long-term catchment dynamics;
  • Ecohydrological effects of vegetation conservation and restoration in degraded mountainous regions;
  • Release and transport of water/sediment and relevant nutrients from mountain or cryospheric regions and their impact on water quality and aquatic ecosystems;
  • Water regulation function of catchment overridden by the climate regime and land use for sustainable water resource management;
  • Impacts of hydroclimatic change on hydropower potential;
  • Climate change and hydrological extremes.

Prof. Dr. Jintao Liu
Prof. Dr. Fan Lu
Prof. Dr. Xiangying Li
Dr. Hu Liu
Dr. Xiaole Han
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • mountainous catchment
  • hydrological regimes
  • water quality
  • hydrochemistry
  • nutrients
  • cryospheric region
  • mountain aquifer
  • catchment coevolution
  • ecohydrological effects
  • hydrological extremes
  • climate change
  • hydropower potential
  • water resource management

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 5120 KiB  
Article
Spatio-Temporal Evolution and Propagation of Meteoro-Hydrological Drought in Yalong River Basin
by Kui Zhu, Yang Xu, Fan Lu, Xueying Sun, Mingxing Gao, Xuhang Han, Dongsheng Li and Ming Jiang
Water 2023, 15(6), 1025; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15061025 - 8 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1560
Abstract
Based on the meteorological and hydrological data of the Yalong River Basin from 1960 to 2019, meteorological and hydrological droughts were analyzed using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and standardized runoff index (SRI); then, the spatio-temporal evolution and propagation characteristics of the [...] Read more.
Based on the meteorological and hydrological data of the Yalong River Basin from 1960 to 2019, meteorological and hydrological droughts were analyzed using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and standardized runoff index (SRI); then, the spatio-temporal evolution and propagation characteristics of the droughts were studied on multiple time scales. The results showed that, firstly, on the annual scale, the frequencies of meteorological and hydrological droughts in the basin were 28.3% and 34.0%, respectively, in the past 60 years. From upstream to downstream, the longer the alternating period of dry and wet periods, the more significant the frequency of droughts. Secondly, on a seasonal scale, the frequency of meteorological droughts is high in autumn, and the frequency of hydrological drought is high in autumn and winter. The frequency of drought in different seasons decreases from the upper reaches to the lower reaches of the basin. Thirdly, on a monthly scale, the severe and exceptional meteorological drought frequencies are high from March to May, and the severe and exceptional hydrological drought frequencies are high in January, March, October, and December. The frequency of hydrological droughts is much higher than that of meteorological droughts, especially with respect to severe and exceptional drought. Meteorological and hydrological droughts spread in the same period without lag, but they tend to expand. The propagation time of drought is short in summer and autumn, but long in spring and winter. The conclusions can serve as a decision-making basis for the water diversion planning of the west route of China’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project and the cascade hydropower operation of the basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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21 pages, 3847 KiB  
Article
Regionalizing Streamflow Regime Function through Integrations of Geographical Controls in Mountainous Basins
by Shuang Yang, Mengzhu Gao, Jintao Liu, Pengfei Wu and Yaqian Yang
Water 2023, 15(2), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020280 - 9 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Flow duration curves (FDCs) that represent streamflow regime function through an empirical relationship between the FDC parameters and basin descriptors are widely adopted for hydrologic applications. However, the applications of this method are highly dependent on the availability of observation data. Hence, it [...] Read more.
Flow duration curves (FDCs) that represent streamflow regime function through an empirical relationship between the FDC parameters and basin descriptors are widely adopted for hydrologic applications. However, the applications of this method are highly dependent on the availability of observation data. Hence, it is still of great significance to explore the process controls of underpinning regional patterns on streamflow regimes. In this study, we developed a new regionalization method of FDCs to solve the problem of runoff prediction for ungauged mountainous basins. Five empirical equations (power, exponential, logarithmic, quadratic, and cubic) were used to fit the observed FDCs in the 64 mountainous basins in eastern China, and the power model outperforms other models. Stepwise regression was used to explore the differentiated control of 23 basin descriptors on the 13 percentile flows of FDCs, and seven descriptors remained as independent variables for further developing the regional FDCs. Application results with different combinations of these selected descriptors showed that five indices, i.e., average annual rainfall (P), average elevation (H), average gradient (β), average topographic index (TI), and maximum 7d of annual rainfall (Max7d), were the main control factors of FDCs in these areas. Through the regional method, we found that 95.31% of all the basins have NSE values greater than 0.60 and ε (namely the relative mean square error) values less than 20%. In conclusion, our study can guide runoff predictions to help manage booming demands for water resources and hydropower developments in mountainous areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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23 pages, 10171 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Variation and Driving Analysis of Groundwater in the Tibetan Plateau Based on GRACE Downscaling Data
by Guangli Gao, Jing Zhao, Jiaxue Wang, Guizhang Zhao, Jiayue Chen and Zhiping Li
Water 2022, 14(20), 3302; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14203302 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1952
Abstract
The special geographical environment of the Tibetan Plateau makes ground observation of Ground Water Storage (GWS) changes difficult, and the data obtained from the GRACE gravity satellites can effectively solve this problem. However, it is difficult to investigate the detailed GWS changes because [...] Read more.
The special geographical environment of the Tibetan Plateau makes ground observation of Ground Water Storage (GWS) changes difficult, and the data obtained from the GRACE gravity satellites can effectively solve this problem. However, it is difficult to investigate the detailed GWS changes because of the coarser spatial resolution of GRACE data. In this paper, we constructed a 0.1° resolution groundwater storage anomalies (GWSA) dataset on the Tibetan Plateau from 2002 to 2020 based on a phased statistical downscaling model and analyzed the spatiotemporal variation and driving factors of the GWSA in order to better study the changes of GWS on the Qinghai Tibet Plateau. The results show that: (1) In the Tibetan Plateau and 12 sub-basins, the GWSA before and after downscaling show a very high correlation in time series and relatively good performance in spatial consistency, and the downscaled GWSA indicate a consistent trend with the measured groundwater level. (2) The GWSA on the Tibetan Plateau shows a downward trend (−0.45 mm/yr) from 2002 to 2020, and the variation trend of the GWSA in the Tibetan Plateau shows significant spatial heterogeneity. (3) The GWSA changes in the Tibetan Plateau are mainly dominated by natural factors, but the influence of human activities in individual sub-basins can not be ignored. Among the teleconnection factors, El Nino-Southern Oscillation Index (ENSO) has the greatest influence on the GWSA on the Tibetan Plateau. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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17 pages, 5284 KiB  
Article
Snowmelt-Driven Seasonal Infiltration and Flow in the Upper Critical Zone, Niwot Ridge (Colorado), USA
by David P. Dethier, Noah Williams and Jordan F. Fields
Water 2022, 14(15), 2317; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152317 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1759
Abstract
The hydrology of alpine and subalpine areas in the Colorado Front Range (USA) is evolving, driven by warming and by the alteration of precipitation patterns, the timing of snowmelt, and other components of the hydrologic budget. Field measurements of soil hydraulic conductivity and [...] Read more.
The hydrology of alpine and subalpine areas in the Colorado Front Range (USA) is evolving, driven by warming and by the alteration of precipitation patterns, the timing of snowmelt, and other components of the hydrologic budget. Field measurements of soil hydraulic conductivity and moisture along 30-m transects (n = 13) of representative soils developed in surficial deposits and falling head slug tests of shallow groundwater in till demonstrate that hydraulic conductivity in the soil is comparable to hydraulic conductivity values in the shallow aquifer. Soil hydraulic conductivity values were variable (medians ranged from 5.6 × 10−7 to 4.96 × 10−5 m s−1) and increased in alpine areas underlain by periglacial deposits. Hydraulic conductivities measured by a modified Hvorslev technique in test wells ranged from 4.86 × 10−7 to 1.77 × 10−4 m s−1 in subalpine till. The results suggest a gradient from higher hydraulic conductivity in alpine zones, where short travel paths through periglacial deposits support ephemeral streams and wetlands, to lower hydraulic conductivity in the till-mantled subalpine zone. In drier downstream areas, streambed infiltration contributes substantially to near-channel groundwater. As summer temperatures and evapotranspiration (ET) increase and snowmelt occur earlier, alpine soils are likely to become more vulnerable to drought, and groundwater levels in the critical zone may lower, affecting the connectivity between late-melting snow, meltwater streams, and the areas they affect downstream. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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17 pages, 10525 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Three High-Resolution Remote Sensing Precipitation Products on the Tibetan Plateau
by Songbin Yu, Fan Lu, Yuyan Zhou, Xiaoyu Wang, Kangming Wang, Xinyi Song and Ming Zhang
Water 2022, 14(14), 2169; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14142169 - 8 Jul 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
Remote sensing precipitation products provide rich data for ungauged basins. Evaluating the accuracy and detection capability of remote sensing precipitation products is crucial before application. In this study, an index system in terms of quantitative differences, capturing capacity and precipitation distribution was constructed [...] Read more.
Remote sensing precipitation products provide rich data for ungauged basins. Evaluating the accuracy and detection capability of remote sensing precipitation products is crucial before application. In this study, an index system in terms of quantitative differences, capturing capacity and precipitation distribution was constructed to evaluate three precipitation products, TRMM 3B42 V7, GPM IMERGE Final and CMORPH V1.0, at various temporal and spatial scales on the Tibetan Plateau from 2001 to 2016. The results show that the correlations among the three products were larger at the monthly scale than at the annual scale. The lowest correlations between the products and observation data were found in December. GPM performed the best at the monthly and annual scales. Particularly, the GPM product presented the best capability of detection of both precipitation and non-precipitation events among the three products. All three precipitation products overestimated 0.1~1 mm/day precipitation, which occurred most frequently. An underestimation of precipitation at 10~20 mm/day was observed, and this intensity accounted for the majority of the precipitation. All three precipitation products showed an underestimation in terms of the annual maximum daily precipitation. The accuracy of the same product varied in different regions of the Tibetan Plateau, such as the south, the southeast, eastern–central region and the northeast, and there was a certain clustering of the accuracies of neighboring stations. GPM was superior to TRMM and CMORPH in the southern Tibetan Plateau, making it recommended for applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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18 pages, 15081 KiB  
Article
Abundant Precipitation in Qilian Mountains Generated from the Recycled Moisture over the Adjacent Arid Hexi Corridor, Northwest China
by Zhihua Zhang, Qiudong Zhao and Shiqiang Zhang
Water 2021, 13(23), 3354; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13233354 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1869
Abstract
The observed precipitation was suggestive of abundant precipitation in upstream Qilian mountains and low precipitation in the downstream oasis and desert in an endorheic basin. However, precipitation in mountains generated from the recycled moisture over oasis and desert areas has rarely been studied. [...] Read more.
The observed precipitation was suggestive of abundant precipitation in upstream Qilian mountains and low precipitation in the downstream oasis and desert in an endorheic basin. However, precipitation in mountains generated from the recycled moisture over oasis and desert areas has rarely been studied. The climatological patterns of water vapor from 1980 to 2017 in the Qilian Mountain Region (QMR) and Hexi Corridor Region (HCR) were investigated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Interim reanalysis dataset and the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Application, Version 2 reanalysis dataset. The results suggest that the precipitable water content decreases from the adjacent to the mountain areas. There are two channels that transport water vapor from the HCR to the QMR in the low troposphere (surface—600 hPa), suggesting that parts of recycled moisture generated from evapotranspiration over the oasis and desert of the HCR is transported to the QMR, contributing to the abundant precipitation in the QMR. This indicates that the transport mechanism is probably because of the “cold and wet island effect” of the cryosphere in QMR. This is likely one of the essential mechanisms of the water cycle in endorheic river basins, which has rarely been reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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16 pages, 38536 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variations in Dissolved Organic Carbon in the Source Region of the Yellow River on the Tibetan Plateau
by Xiaoni You and Xiangying Li
Water 2021, 13(20), 2901; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202901 - 15 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2169
Abstract
Rivers as the link between terrestrial ecosystems and oceans have been demonstrated to transport a large amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to downstream ecosystems. In the source region of the Yellow River (SRYR), climate warming has resulted in the rapid retreat of [...] Read more.
Rivers as the link between terrestrial ecosystems and oceans have been demonstrated to transport a large amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to downstream ecosystems. In the source region of the Yellow River (SRYR), climate warming has resulted in the rapid retreat of glaciers and permafrost, which has raised discussion on whether DOC production will increase significantly. Here, we present three-year data of DOC concentrations in river water and precipitation, explore the deposition and transport processes of DOC from SRYR. Results show that annual mean concentrations of riverine DOC ranged from 2.03 to 2.34 mg/L, with an average of 2.21 mg/L. Its seasonal variation is characterized by the highest concentration in spring and summer (2.65 mg/L and 2.62 mg/L, respectively), followed by autumn (1.95 mg/L), and the lowest in winter (1.44 mg/L), which is closely related to changes in river runoff under the influence of precipitation and temperature. The average concentration of DOC in precipitation (2.18 mg/L) is comparable with riverine DOC, while the value is inversely related to precipitation amount and is considered to be the result of precipitation dilution. DOC deposition flux in precipitation that is affected by both precipitation amount and DOC concentration roughly was 86,080, 105,804, and 73,072 tons/year from 2013 to 2015, respectively. DOC flux delivered by the river ranged from 24,629 to 37,539 tons/year and was dominated by river discharge. Although permafrost degradation in SRYR is increasing, DOC yield is not as significant as previously assumed and is much less than other large rivers in the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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9 pages, 2401 KiB  
Communication
Snowmelt and Snow Sublimation in the Indus Basin
by Simon Gascoin
Water 2021, 13(19), 2621; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192621 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2732
Abstract
The Indus basin is considered as the one with the highest dependence on snowmelt runoff in High Mountain Asia. The recent High Mountain Asia snow reanalysis enables us to go beyond previous studies by evaluating both snowmelt and snow sublimation at the basin [...] Read more.
The Indus basin is considered as the one with the highest dependence on snowmelt runoff in High Mountain Asia. The recent High Mountain Asia snow reanalysis enables us to go beyond previous studies by evaluating both snowmelt and snow sublimation at the basin scale. Over 2000–2016, basin-average snowmelt was 101 ± 11 Gt.a−1 (121 ± 13 mm.a−1), which represents about 25–30% of basin-average annual precipitation. Snow sublimation accounts for 11% of the mean annual snow ablation, but with a large spatial variability across the basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability of Mountainous Water Resources and Hydrological Regimes)
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