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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-261
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
08 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Characterizing drought by change in precipitation-runoff relationship: a case study of the Loess Plateau, China
Yuan Zhang1,2, Xiaoming Feng1, Xiaofeng Wang2, and Bojie Fu1 1State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10085, China
2School of Earth Sciences and Resources , Chang’an University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710054, China
Abstract. The frequency and intensity of drought is increasing dramatically with global warming. Yet, few studies have characterized drought from its impact on the ecosystem services, the mechanisms through which ecosystems support life. As a result, little is known about the implications of increased drought on resource management. This case study characterizes drought by linking climate anomaly with the change in precipitation-runoff relationships, in the Loess Plateau of China, a water-limited region where re-vegetation in the area makes drought a major concern. We analyze droughts with duration greater than 5 years and annual precipitation anomalies more negative than −5 %, we found that continuous precipitation shifts is able to change watershed water balance in the water limited area, multi-year drought caused the precipitation-runoff relationship to change with a significantly descending trend (p < 0.05) compared to other historical records. For the whole Loess Plateau, the average runoff ratio decreased from 10 percent to 6.8 percent in 1991–1999. The joint probability and return period gradually increased with the increase of drought duration and severity. The ecosystem service of water yield was affected easily when the drought duration is not less than six years and the drought severity is greater than or equal to 0.55 (precipitation around ≤ 212 mm). At the same time, the growth ratio of annual NPP is also susceptible to prolonged drought, the growth ratio is lower in these watersheds which had a significant change in the PRR. Such studies are essential to ecosystem management in a water-limited area.

Citation: Zhang, Y., Feng, X., Wang, X., and Fu, B.: Characterizing drought by change in precipitation-runoff relationship: a case study of the Loess Plateau, China, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-261, in review, 2017.
Yuan Zhang et al.
Yuan Zhang et al.
Yuan Zhang et al.

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Short summary
We characterized drought by linking climate anomaly with the change in precipitation-runoff relationships in China's Loess Plateau, where drought is of major concern of re-vegetation. Multi-year drought cause change in precipitation-runoff relationship in the water limited area; The drought causing decrease in runoff ratio is vital to ecosystem management; The re-vegetation in the Loess Plateau should live with the spatial varied drought.
We characterized drought by linking climate anomaly with the change in precipitation-runoff...
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