In order to survey the possible periodic, uncertainty and common features in runoff with multi-temporal scales, the empirical mode decomposition (EMD) method combined with the set pair analysis (SPA) method was applied, with data observed at Zhangjiashan hydrological station. The results showed that the flood season and annual runoff time series consisted of four intrinsic mode function (IMF) components, and the non-flood season time series exhibited three IMF components. Moreover, based on the different coupled set pairs from the time series, the identity, discrepancy, and contrary of different periods at multi-temporal scales were determined by the SPA method. The degree of connection μ between the flood season and annual runoff periods were the highest, with 0.94, 0.77, 0.7 and 0.73, respectively, and the μ between the flood periods and the non-flood periods were the lowest, with 0.66, 0.46, 0.24 and 0.24, respectively. Third, the maximum μ of each SPA appeared in the first mode function. In general, the different extractive periods decomposed by EMD method can reflected the average state of Jinghe River. Results also verified that runoff suffered from seasonal and periodic fluctuations, and fluctuations in the short-term corresponded to the most important variable. Therefore, the conclusions draw in this study can improve water resources regulation and planning.


  • A coupling model of empirical mode decomposition and set pair analysis is proposed.

  • Mutation and variation of runoff under different time scale is provided.

  • Trend components and fluctuation features under multi-temporal scales are explored.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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