Detecting the Quantitative Hydrological Response to Changes in Climate and Human Activities at Temporal and Spatial Scales in a Typical Gully Region of the Loess Plateau, China
This study examined the Chabagou River watershed in the gully region of the Loess Plateau in China’s Shaanxi Province, and was based on measured precipitation and runoff data in the basin over a 52-year period (1959–2010), land-use types, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and other data. Statistical models and distributed hydrological models were used to explore the influences of climate change and human activity on the hydrological response and on the temporal and spatial evolution of the basin. It was found that precipitation and runoff in the gully region presented a downward trend during the 52-year period. Since the 1970s, the hydrological response to human activities has become the main source of regional hydrological evolution. Evapotranspiration from the large silt dam in the study area has increased. The depth of soil water decreased at first, then it increased by amount that exceeded the evaporation increase observed in the second and third change periods. The water and soil conservation measures had a beneficial effect on the ecology of the watershed. These results provide a reference for water resource management and soil and water conservation in the study area.