Surface Water Hydrology

Oral Abstract

The Impact of Climate Change on Water Availability and Sediment Load in the Upper Yellow River Throughout the Twenty-first Century

Wednesday, January 4
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: 7th Meeting Room

More than 107 million people in China depend on water from the upper Yellow River. Upstream precipitation, snow and ice reserves, essential in sustaining water availability, have been and will continue to be affected by climate change. This study initially reported changes in water discharge and sediment load in the upper Yellow River. Using the historical record as a baseline, a new approach is proposed to simulate future variations in water discharge and sediment load in the upper Yellow River basin on the basis of the latest global climate model ensemble generated for the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fifth assessment report provided through phase five of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). This study analyzed two main scenarios that may lead to a radiative forcing of 4.5 W m-2 (RCP45) and 8.5Wm-2 (RCP85) in 2100. The results indicated that future climate change will reduce water discharge and sediment load due to significant increase in air temperature and evapotranspiration, especially under the scenario RCP85. Although the reduced sediment load is beneficial to extend reservoir life span, reduced water supply is adverse to sustain upstream cascade reservoir systems from the Longyangxia Reservoir to Liujiaxia Reservoir, which are used to store and release water to downstream areas when most needed. Climate change will also change seasonal water discharge and lead to early formation of spring flood, which will affect downstream cultivation and irrigation. These findings have immediate implications for securing water availability and optimizing reservoir operation in the upper Yellow River basin.

Xiankun Yang

Inner Mongolia University

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Xixi Lu

Inner Mongolia University

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The Impact of Climate Change on Water Availability and Sediment Load in the Upper Yellow River Throughout the Twenty-first Century



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