Abstract

The vulnerability of the natural water system in cold areas to future climate change is of great concern. A coupled model approach was applied in the headwater watershed area of Yalu River in the northeastern part of China to estimate the response of hydrological processes to future climate change with moderate data. The stochastic Long Ashton Research Station Weather Generator was used to downscale the results of general circulation models to generate synthetic daily weather series in the 2050s and 2080s under various projected scenarios, which were applied as input data of the Generalized Watershed Loading Functions hydrological model for future hydrological process estimations. The results showed that future wetter and hotter weather conditions would have positive impacts on the watershed runoff yields but negative impacts on the watershed groundwater flow yields. The freezing period in winter would be shortened with earlier snowmelt peaks in spring. These would result in less snow cover in winter and shift the monthly allocations of streamflow with more yields in March but less in April and May, which should be of great concern for future local management. The proposed approach of the coupled model application is effective and can be used in other similar areas.

You do not currently have access to this content.