On Tuesday, May 28, scheduled routine maintenance may cause intermittent connectivity issues which could impact e-commerce, registration, and single sign-on. Thank you for your patience.

Technical Papers
Mar 27, 2012

Modeling the Effects of Climate Change and Human Activities on the Hydrological Processes in a Semiarid Watershed of Loess Plateau

Publication: Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Volume 18, Issue 4

Abstract

The hydrological cycle in a catchment is sensitive to climate and land-use changes. The authors conducted a case study to validate the performance of the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) and its applicability as a simulator of runoff and sediment transport processes at the mesoscale scale in arid and semiarid areas. SWAT is used to simulate runoff and sediment changes caused by human activities in a typical watershed, the Jihe Watershed (1,019km2), in the Loess Plateau of northwestern China. A marked increase in temperature was observed over the analysis period. The investigation was conducted using 47 years of historical rainfall/runoff data and sedimentary records from 1962–2008. The data from 1962–1981 was used for calibration and that from 1982–2008 for validation. The results showed that the Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiency coefficient was approximately 0.7, the relative error was less than 15%, and the coefficient of determination was greater than 0.7, both for annual flow and sediment yield in the calibration period. These findings indicate that the SWAT model was able to simulate runoff and sediment yield satisfactorily; however, it exhibited better performance for the calibration period than for the validation period. Similarly, simulations of monthly flow and sediment were better for the calibration period. The simulated and observed values agree well with trend changes. Uncertainty analysis indicates that digital elevation model resolutions and watershed subdivisions imposed little influence on annual flow, but notable effects were observed with respect to annual sediment yield.

Get full access to this article

View all available purchase options and get full access to this article.

Acknowledgments

This study was financially supported by China National Science and Technology Support Program for the 12th Five Year Planning (Grant No. 2011BAD38B05), Special Fund for Forestry Research in the Public Interest (Grant No. 201104005), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41001362). The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their useful insights and constructive comments on a previous draft.

References

Arnold, J. G., Srinivasan, R., Muttiah, R. S., and Williams, J. R. (1998). “Large-area hydrologic modeling and assessment: Part I. Model development.” J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc., 34(1), 73–89.
Arnold, J. G., Williams, J. R., and Maidment, D. R. (1995). “Continuous-time water and sediment-routing model for large basins.” J. Hydrol. Eng., 121(2), 171–183.
ASCE Task Committee on Definition of Criteria for Evaluation of Watershed Models of the Watershed Management Committee, Irrigation and Drainage Division. (1993). “Criteria for evaluation of watershed models.” J. Irrig. Drain. Eng., 119(3), 429–442.
Brown, C. D., and Hollis, J. M. (1996). “SWAT—A semi-empirical model to predict concentrations of pesticides entering surface waters from agricultural land.” Pestic. Sci., 47(1), 41–50.
Cao, J. T., Qin, D. H., Luo, Y., and Zhao, J. S. (2007). “Discharge changes of the Yangtze River in source area during 1956–2000.” Adv. Water Sci., 18(1), 29–33 (in Chinese).
Cao, S. X., Chen, L., and Yu, X. X. (2009). “Impact of China’s Grain for Green Project on the landscape of vulnerable arid and semi-arid agricultural regions: A case study in northern Shaanxi Province.” J. Appl. Ecol., 46(3), 536–543.
Cao, W. Z., Bowden, W. B., Davie, T., and Fenemor, A. (2006). “Multi-variable and multi-site calibration and validation of SWAT in a large mountainous catchment with high spatial variability.” Hydrol. Process., 20(5), 1057–1073.
Chaplot, V. (2005). “Impact of DEM mesh size and soil map scale on SWAT runoff, sediment, and NO3-N loads predictions.” J. Hydrol., 312(1), 207–222.
Chaponnière, A., Boulet, G., Chehbouni, A., and Aresmouk, M. (2008). “Understanding hydrological processes with scarce data in a mountain environment.” Hydrol. Process., 22(12), 1908–1921.
Chen, J. F., Li, X. B., and Zhang, M. (2005). “Simulating the impacts of climate variation and land-cover changes on basin hydrology: A case study of the Suomo basin.” Sci. China Ser. D Earth Sci., 48(9), 1501–1509.
Chen, S. F., Liu, Q. Y., Lu, Z. C., and Li, Z. Y. (2007). “The multi-dimensional thresholds of sediment yield in the area with abundant and coarse sediment on the Loess Plateau.” Acta Ecol. Sinica, 27(8), 3277–3285 (in Chinese).
Cheng, L., Xu, Z. X., Luo, R., and Mi, Y. J. (2009). “SWAT application in arid and semi-arid region: A case study in the Kuye River Basin.” Geogr. Res., 28(1), 65–73 (in Chinese).
Davis, D. M., Gowda, P. H., Mulla, D. J., and Randall, G. W. (2000). “Modeling nitrate nitrogen leaching in response to nitrogen fertilizer rate and tile drain depth or spacing for southern Minnesota, USA.” J. Environ. Qual., 29(5), 1568–1581.
Fohrer, N., Haverkamp, S., Eckhardt, K., and Frede, H. G. (2001). “Hydrologic response to land use changes on the catchment scale.” Phys. Chem. Earth, 26(7–8), 577–582.
Githui, F., Gitau, W., Mutua, F, and Bauwens, W. (2009). “Climate change impact on SWAT simulated streamflow in western Kenya.” Int. J. Climatol., 29(12), 1823–1834.
Gong, Y. W., Shen, Z. Y., Liu, R. M., Wang, X. J., and Chen, T. (2010). “Effect of watershed subdivision on SWAT modeling with consideration of parameter uncertainty.” J. Hydrol. Eng., 15(12), 1070–1074.
Goodrich, D. C., Faures, J. M., Woolhiser, D. A., and Lane, L. J. (1995). “Measurement and analysis of small scale convective storm rainfall variability.” J. Hydrol., 173(1), 283–308.
Govender, M., and Everson, C. S. (2005). “Modelling streamflow from two small South African experimental catchments using the SWAT model.” Hydrol. Process., 19(3), 683–692.
Hao, F. H., Cheng, H. G., and Yang, S. T. (2006). Non-point source pollution model: Theory and application, China Environmental Science Press, Beijing.
He, H. M., Zhang, Q. F., Zhou, J., Fei, J., and Xie, X. P. (2009). “Coupling climate change with hydrological dynamic in Qinling Mountains, China.” Clim. Change, 94(3), 409–427.
Hou, J. C., Li, Z. B., Cui, L. Z., and Wang, M. (2008). “Research on runoff erosion and sediment yield laws of typical watershed under single rainfall on Loess Plateau.” J. Northwest A&F Univ., 36(2), 210–214 (in Chinese).
Jayakrishnan, R., Srinivasan, R., Santhi, C., and Arnold, J. G. (2005). “Advances in the application of the SWAT model for water resources management.” Hydrol. Process., 19(3), 749–762.
Kannan, N., Jeong, J., and Srinivasan, R. (2011). “Hydrologic modeling of a canal-irrigated agricultural watershed with irrigation best management practices: Case study.” J. Hydrol. Eng., 16(9), 746–757.
Lam, Q. D., Schmalz, B., and Fohrer, N. (2011). “The impact of agricultural best management practices on water quality in a north German lowland catchment.” Environ. Monit. Assess., 183(1), 351–379.
Li, Z., Liu, W. Z., Zhang, X. C., and Zheng, F. L. (2009). “Impacts of land use change and climate variability on hydrology in an agricultural catchment on the Loess Plateau of China.” J. Hydrol., 377(1), 35–42.
Ma, X., Xu, J. C., Luo, L., Aggarwal, S. P., and Li, J. T. (2009). “Response of hydrological processes to land-cover and climate changes in Kejie watershed, south-west China.” Hydrol. Process., 23(8), 1179–1191.
Neitsch, S. L., Arnold, J. G., Kiniry, J. R., Williams, J. R., and King, K. W. (2005). “Soil and Water Assessment Tool: Theoretical documentation (version 2005).” Rep. Prepared for the Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, and Blackland Research Center, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Temple, TX.
Neumann, L. N., Western, A. W., and Argent, R. M. (2010). “The sensitivity of simulated flow and water quality response to spatial heterogeneity on a hillslope in the Tarrawarra catchment, Australia.” Hydrol. Process., 24(1), 76–86.
Peschel, J. M., Haan, P. K., and Lacey, R. E. (2006). “Influences of soil dataset resolution on hydrologic modeling.” J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc., 42(5), 1371–1389.
Saleh, A., et al. (2000). “Application of SWAT for the upper North Bosque River watershed.” Trans. ASABE, 43(5), 1077–1087.
Setegn, S. G., Srinivasan, R., Melesse, A. M., and Dargahi, B. (2010). “SWAT model application and prediction uncertainty analysis in the Lake Tana Basin, Ethiopia.” Hydrol. Process., 24(3), 357–367.
Sridhar, V., and Nayak, A. (2010). “Implications of climate-driven variability and trends for the hydrologic assessment of the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, Idaho.” J. Hydrol., 385(1), 183–202.
Stratton, B. T., Sridhar, V., Gribb, M. M., McNamara, J. P., and Narasimhan, B. (2009). “Modeling the spatially varying water balance processes in a semiarid mountainous watershed of Idaho.” J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc., 45(6), 1390–1408.
Suo, A. N., Zhao, W. J., Wang, T. M., Yuan, F., Xiong, Y., and Ge, J. P. (2007). “Spatial-temporal succession characteristics of soil and water loss in the central Loess Plateau during the last 50 years.” J. Beijing Forestry Univ., 29(1), 90–97 (in Chinese).
Tobin, K. J., and Bennett, M. E. (2009). “Using SWAT to model streamflow in two river basins with ground and satellite precipitation data.” J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc., 45(1), 253–271.
Tong, S. T. Y., and Naramngam, S. (2007). “Modeling the impacts of farming practices on water quality in the Little Miami River Basin.” Environ. Manage., 39(6), 853–866.
Wang, L. N., Mu, X. M., Gao, P., and Su, X. L. (2005). “Response of runoff and sediment yield to geomorphologic factors in Loess hilly area.” J. Hydraul. Eng., 36(8), 956–960 (in Chinese).
Wang, S. F, Kang, S. Z, Zhang, L., and Li, F. S. (2008a). “Modelling hydrological response to different land-use and climate change scenarios in the Zamu River basin of northwest China.” Hydrol. Process., 22(14), 2502–2510.
Wang, S. P., Zhang, Z. Q., Sun, G., McNulty, S. G., and Zhang, M. L. (2009). “Detecting water yield variability due to the small proportional land use and land cover changes in a watershed on the Loess Plateau, China.” Hydrol. Process., 23(21), 3083–3092.
Wang, W. G., Peng, S. Z., Yang, T., Shao, Q. X., Xu, J. Z., and Xing, W. Q. (2011). “Spatial and temporal characteristics of reference evapotranspiration trends in the Haihe River Basin, China.” J. Hydrol. Eng., 16(3), 239–252.
Wang, X. K., Qian, N., and Hu, W. D. (1982). “The formation and process of confluence of the flow at hyperconcentration in the gullied-hilly Loess areas of the Yellow River Basin.” J. Hydrol. Eng., 7(1), 26–35.
Wang, Y. J., Lv, H. J., and Jiang, T. (2008b). “Influence of watershed subdivision and DEM resolution on SWAT runoff simulation.” J. China Hydrol., 28(3), 22–26 (in Chinese).
Wang, Y. R., Yin, X. Z., and Yuan, Z. P. (2004). “Main characteristics of climate system in Loess Plateau in China.” J. Catastrophol., 19(Z1), 39–45 (in Chinese).
Wei, Q. Y., Hao, F. H., Song, K. Y., and Zhang, X. (2011). “Cascade dam-induced hydrological disturbance and environmental impact in the upper stream of the Yellow River.” Water Resour. Manage., 25(3), 913–927.
White, M. J., Storm, D. E., Smolen, M. D., and Zhang, H. L. (2009). “Development of a quantitative pasture phosphorus management tool using the SWAT model.” J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc., 45(2), 397–406.
Whittaker, G. (2005). “Application of SWAT in the evaluation of salmon habitat remediation policy.” Hydrol. Process., 19(3), 839–848.
Winchell, M., Srinivasan, R., Di Luzio, M., and Arnold, J. (2007). ArcSWAT interface for SWAT—User’s guide, Blackland Research Center, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and USDA Agricultural Research Service, Temple, TX.
Wu, J., and Zhang, W. C. (2007). “Responses of runoff simulations to the change in topographic parameters based on SWAT model.” Bull. Soil Water Conserv., 27(3), 52–58 (in Chinese).
Xu, Z. X., Pang, J. P., Liu, C. M., and Li, J. Y. (2009). “Assessment of runoff and sediment yield in the Miyun Reservoir catchment by using SWAT model.” Hydrol. Process., 23(25), 3619–3630.
Xin, Z. B., and Yu, X. X. (2009). “Impact of vegetation restoration on hydrological processes in the middle reaches of the Yellow River, China.” Forest. Stud. China, 11(4), 209–218.
Xin, Z. B., Yu, X. X., Li, Q. Y., and Lu, X. X. (2011). “Spatiotemporal variation in rainfall erosivity on the Chinese Loess Plateau during the period 1956–2008.” Reg. Environ. Change, 11(1), 149–159.
Yao, Y. B., Wang, Y. R., Li, Y. H., and Zhang, X. Y. (2005). “Climate warming and drying and its environmental effects in the Loess Plateau.” Resour. Sci., 27(5), 146–152 (in Chinese).
Yin, X. R., Xia, J., Zhang, X., and Wang, X. N. (2006). “Recent progress and prospect of the study on uncertainties in hydrological modelling and forecasting.” Water Power, 32(10), 27–31 (in Chinese).
Zhang, F., Liu, J. S., Gong, T. L., and Wang, H. (2006). “Hydrological regime of the Karuxung Watershed in north Himalayas.” Acta Geogr. Sinica, 61(11), 1141–1148 (in Chinese).
Zhang, S. T., Kang, S. Z., and Zhang, K. (2004). “Effect of soil and water conservation on the runoff on the Loess Plateau.” Trans. CSAE, 20(6), 56–59 (in Chinese).
Zhang, X. M. (2007) “Response and scaling on eco-hydrology to land use/forest vegetation change in typical watersheds of Loess Plateau.” Ph.D. dissertation, Beijing Forestry Univ., Beijing.
Zhang, Y. Y., Xia, J., Chen, J. F., and Zhang, M. H. (2011). “Water quantity and quality optimization modeling of dams operation based on SWAT in Wenyu River Catchment, China.” Environ. Monit. Assess., 173(1), 409–430.
Zhang, Y. Y., Xia, J., Liang, T., and Shao, Q. X. (2010). “Impact of water projects on river flow regimes and water quality in Huai River Basin.” Water Resour. Manage., 24(5), 889–908.
Zhang, Z. Q., Wang, S. P., Sun, G., Zhang, M. L., and Li, J. L. (2005). “Response of sediment production to land-use change in Luergou watershed of Loess Plateau.” Chinese J. Appl. Ecol., 16(9), 1607–1612 (in Chinese).
Zhao, X. Q., Lv, X., and Dai, J. H. (2010). “Impact assessment of the ‘Grain for Green Project’ and discussion on the development models in the mountain-gorge regions.” Front. Earth Sci. China, 4(1), 105–116.
Zheng, M. G., Cai, Q. G., and Chen, H. (2007). “Effect of vegetation on runoff-sediment relationship at different spatial scale levels in gullied-hilly area of the Loess Plateau, China.” Acta Ecol. Sinica, 27(9), 3572–3581 (in Chinese).

Information & Authors

Information

Published In

Go to Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Volume 18Issue 4April 2013
Pages: 401 - 412

History

Received: Apr 27, 2011
Accepted: Mar 23, 2012
Published online: Mar 27, 2012
Published in print: Apr 1, 2013

Permissions

Request permissions for this article.

Authors

Affiliations

Instructor, College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry Univ., No. 35, Qinghua East Rd., Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China; and North China Univ. of Water Resources and Electric Power, No. 36, Beihuan Rd., Jinshui District, Zhengzhou 450011, China. E-mail: [email protected]
Professor, College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry Univ., No. 35, Qinghua East Rd., Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China (corresponding author). E-mail: [email protected]
Zhongbao Xin [email protected]
Associate Professor, College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry Univ., No. 35, Qinghua East Rd., Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China. E-mail: [email protected]
Instructor, North China Univ. of Water Resources and Electric Power, No. 36, Beihuan Rd., Jinshui District, Zhengzhou 450011, China. E-mail: [email protected]

Metrics & Citations

Metrics

Citations

Download citation

If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click Download.

Cited by

View Options

Get Access

Access content

Please select your options to get access

Log in/Register Log in via your institution (Shibboleth)
ASCE Members: Please log in to see member pricing

Purchase

Save for later Information on ASCE Library Cards
ASCE Library Cards let you download journal articles, proceedings papers, and available book chapters across the entire ASCE Library platform. ASCE Library Cards remain active for 24 months or until all downloads are used. Note: This content will be debited as one download at time of checkout.

Terms of Use: ASCE Library Cards are for individual, personal use only. Reselling, republishing, or forwarding the materials to libraries or reading rooms is prohibited.
ASCE Library Card (5 downloads)
$105.00
Add to cart
ASCE Library Card (20 downloads)
$280.00
Add to cart
Buy Single Article
$35.00
Add to cart

Get Access

Access content

Please select your options to get access

Log in/Register Log in via your institution (Shibboleth)
ASCE Members: Please log in to see member pricing

Purchase

Save for later Information on ASCE Library Cards
ASCE Library Cards let you download journal articles, proceedings papers, and available book chapters across the entire ASCE Library platform. ASCE Library Cards remain active for 24 months or until all downloads are used. Note: This content will be debited as one download at time of checkout.

Terms of Use: ASCE Library Cards are for individual, personal use only. Reselling, republishing, or forwarding the materials to libraries or reading rooms is prohibited.
ASCE Library Card (5 downloads)
$105.00
Add to cart
ASCE Library Card (20 downloads)
$280.00
Add to cart
Buy Single Article
$35.00
Add to cart

Media

Figures

Other

Tables

Share

Share

Copy the content Link

Share with email

Email a colleague

Share