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Thus, the analysis of climate change impacts on runoff is of great importance for the utilization and management of water resources in the YRB.The global climate model (GCM) is one of the best tools available for assessing future climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.Particularly in the past two decades, with global warming and heightened human activities, runoff has decreased significantly, which may lead to greater conflict between water supply and demand.
VIC was first calibrated using observations and then was driven by the precipitation and temperature projected by the Reg CM3 high-resolution regional climate model under the IPCC scenario A2.
Results show that, under the scenario A2, the mean annual temperature of the basin could increase by 1.6°C, while mean annual precipitation could decrease by 2.6%.
Reductions of 13.6%, 25.7%, and 24.6% could be expected in the regions of Hekouzhen to Longmen, Longmen to Sanmenxia, and Sanmenxia to Huayuankou, respectively.
Our study suggests that the condition of water resources in the YRB could become more severe in the period from 2001 to 2030 under the scenario A2.
There could be an 11.6% reduction in annual runoff in the basin according to the VIC projection.
However, there are marked regional variations in these climate change impacts.Currently, many achievements have been made in the assessment of effects of climate change on water resources using output of GCMs in the YRB [6, 8–12].Although GCMs can simulate the characteristics of large-scale atmospheric circulation, there are significant gaps in forecasting climate change on regional scales . However, due to the limitations in computer capability, only a few simulation experiments by RCMs have been done in China [16, 17].The A2 emission scenario lies toward the high end of the IPCC range, with CO concentrations in the atmosphere of about 850 ppm by 2100 .Daily maximum and minimum temperature and precipitation were used in this study and the spatial resolutions of these variables were at 50 km × 50 km (total 431 grid points).The variable infiltration capacity (VIC) distributed hydrological model is a macroscale hydrological model based on a soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer scheme (SVATS), which was designed to describe the land surface in numerical weather prediction and climate and describe the variation and transfer of water and energy.It has been widely used for climate change impact studies [21, 22].These changes in the hydrological cycle may result in further impacts on the water resource management and socioeconomic systems [4, 5].The Yellow River basin (YRB) is located in semiarid to arid climate zones and is an important water resource supply in North China.The basic principles of the VIC model are described in Liang et al. A model for assessing the effects of climate change on the YRB was established at a 50 km × 50 km resolution based on the VIC model.For each grid point, the forcing data were generated using the inverse distance weighted method based on 126 meteorological stations with daily precipitation and maximum and minimum temperature.