Impacts of climate change and human activities on the surface runoff in the Wuhua River Basin

Document Type


Publication Date



Geography and Geology

Publication Title

Sustainability (Switzerland)


The impacts of climate change and human activities on the surface runoff in the Wuhua River Basin (hereinafter referred to as the river basin) are explored using the Mann-Kendall trend test, wavelet analysis, and double-mass curve. In this study, all the temperature and precipitation data from two meteorological stations, namely,Wuhua and Longchuan, the measured monthly runoff data in Hezikou Hydrological Station from 1961 to 2013, and the land-cover type data in 1990 and 2013 are used. This study yields valuable results. First, over the past 53 years, the temperature in the river basin rose substantially, without obvious changes in the average annual precipitation. From 1981 to 2013, the annual runoff fluctuated and declined, and this result is essentially in agreement with the time-series characteristics of precipitation. Second, both temperature and precipitation had evidently regular changes on the 28a scale, and the annual runoff changed on the 19a scale. Third, forestland was the predominant land use type in theWuhua river basin, followed by cultivated land. Major transitions mainly occurred in both land-use types, which were partially transformed into grassland and construction land. From 1990 to 2013, cultivated land was the most active land-use type in the transitions, and construction land was the most stable type. Finally, human activities had always been a decisive factor on the runoff reduction in the river basin, accounting for 85.8%. The runoff in the river basin suffered most heavily from human activities in the 1980s and 1990s, but thereafter, the impact of these activities diminished to a certain extent. This may be because of the implementation of water loss and soil erosion control policies.

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