Changes and Influencing Factors of Surface Water Resources in the Source Region of the Yellow River

  • 1. Qinghai Meteorological Bureau, Xining 810001, China;
    2. Qinghai Climate Center, Xining 810001, China;
    3. Qinghai Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Xining 810001, China

Received date: 2006-11-23

  Revised date: 2007-01-20

  Online published: 2007-03-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40405022; Special Fund for Social Public Welfare of Research Institutes, No.2005DIB3J109


Taking the source region of the Yellow River as a study area and based on the data from Madoi Meteorological Station and Huangheyan Hydrological Station covering the period 1955-2005 in the study area, this paper analyses the changing trends of surface water resources, climate and frozen ground and reveals their causes. Some conclusions can be drawn as follows: (1) Results show there exist frequent fluctuations from high to low water flow in recent 51 years. Generally speaking, the discharge has shown a declining trend in the 51 years especially since the 1990s. The annual distribution shows one peak which, year on year is getting smaller. (2) Precipitation has a significant and sustained influence on discharge. (3) A sharp rise of temperature in the source region resulted in the increase of evaporation and the decrease of discharge supply, which has a greater effect than on ice-snow melting, as indicated by the fact that the rising spring temperatures played the most important role in this process. (4) Frozen ground tends to be degraded markedly. Permafrost is impermeable so there is a negative correlation between the thickness of the active layer and permeability, whereas there is a significant positive correlation between the permafrost thickness and the discharge. (5) Evaporation rates are significantly increasing, leading to the decrease of discharge. (6) 70% of the discharge reduction resulted from climate change, and the remaining 30% may have been caused by intensified human activities. The major factors influencing the discharge are, in the order of their effects, frozen ground, precipitation, evaporation and temperature. It is evident that permafrost is of utmost importance in the formation and development of surface water resources in the source region of the Yellow River.

Cite this article

CHANG Guogang, LI Lin, ZHU Xide, WANG Zhenyu, XIAO Jianshe, LI Fengxia . Changes and Influencing Factors of Surface Water Resources in the Source Region of the Yellow River[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2007 , 62(3) : 311 -320 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200703008


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