Disentangling the impacts of meteorological variability and human induced changes on hydrological responses and erosion in a hilly-gully watershed of the Chinese Loess Plateau

Jinfeng Wu, João Pedro Nunes, Jantiene E.M. Baartman, Dawen Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

China's Loess Plateau remains one of the most serious water erosion areas on Earth, while runoff and sediments of the Yellow River continue to decrease due to soil and water conservation (SWC) measures. Besides, climate conditions are dynamic. A total of 197 rainfall-runoff events from 1965 to 2020 in the Huangfuchuan catchment, which were divided into 3 sub-periods (P0: 1965 – 1982 limited measures; P1: 1983–1998 only dams and P2: 1999–2020 dams and revegetation), were selected to reveal the differences and mechanisms of runoff generation and sediment dynamics. The results show that: 1) anthropogenic activities played a leading role in water and sediment reduction; 2) infiltration-excess overland flow during the first two periods was dominant mechanism, but the results imply a potential shift towards saturation-excess overland flow occurring more often during P2; 3) the studied system, in a highly erodible region, is transport-limited; 4) sediment connectivity is reduced noticeably at the catchment scale, in which the decrease in index of connectivity (IC) values mainly resulted from the increase in proportion of the most disconnected areas of the catchment, especially in P2. These findings can help towards a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the changes in sediment dynamics, which can be applied to develop and implement sustainable water and soil conservation planning in the local or other similar areas. Besides this knowledge is very important for improving hydrological and sedimentological models in order to forecast the effects of human induced changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107478
JournalCatena
Volume233
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Check dams
  • Index of connectivity
  • Revegetation
  • Runoff events
  • Sediment transport

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Disentangling the impacts of meteorological variability and human induced changes on hydrological responses and erosion in a hilly-gully watershed of the Chinese Loess Plateau'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this