Natural climate change has major influence on hydrological cycle over 'China water tower'

November 09, 2018

Known as the "China Water Tower", the Sanjiangyuan region is headwaters of the Yellow River, Yangtze River and Lancang-Mekong River. Due to climate change and human activity, its streamflow and vegetation cover decreased during the end of last century, while they started to recover after the implementation of "Graze for Grass Project" and "Sanjiangyuan Region Reserve Project". However, changes of terrestrial hydrological cycle and their drivers are still unknown due to sparse observations and difficulty in modeling the complex hydro-thermal processes over the mountainous headwaters.

Recently, Professor Xing Yuan and his PhD student Peng Ji, from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed a high resolution (3 km) land surface model (CSSPv2), and significantly improved streamflow and soil moisture simulations over the Sanjiangyuan region. High resolution land surface modeling also outperformed the state-of-the-art global reanalysis in simulating terrestrial hydrology in the headwaters region.

They found that natural climate change dominated the changes in terrestrial hydrological changes, although anthropogenic climate change mainly caused changes in ground temperature and frozen soil. Contribution from land cover changes is less than 10%. Professor Yuan explained the model results, "Precipitation variation caused by natural climate change is mainly responsible for the changes in streamflow and terrestrial water storage, which suggests that the adaptations might be more important than mitigations for the water resources management over the Sanjiangyuan region."
-end-
The above series of studies have been published at Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems.

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.