Abstract

Investigating long-term streamflow changes pattern and its response to climate and human factors is of crucial significance to understand the hydrological cycle under a changing environment. Caijiazhuang catchment located within Haihe River basin, north China was selected as the study area. To detect the trend and changes in streamflow, Mann–Kendall test was used. Elasticity and hydrological simulation methods were applied to assess the relative contribution of climate change and human activities on streamflow variability under three periods (baseline (1958–1977), impact I (1978–1997), and impact II (1998–2012)). The long-term hydro-climatic variables experienced substantial changes during the whole study period, and 1977 was the breaking year of streamflow change. Attribution analysis using the two methods showed consistent results: for impact I, climate change impacts explained 65% and 68% of streamflow reduction; however for impact II, it only represented 49% and 56% of streamflow reduction. This result indicated that human activities were intensifying over time. Various types of human activities presented significant effects on streamflow regimes including volumes and hydrographs. The findings of this paper could provide better insights of hydrological evolution and would thus assist water managers in sustainably managing and providing water use strategies under a changing environment.

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