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Xi Chen, Yongqin David Chen, and Zhicai Zhang

Abstract

To analyze the water budget under human influences in the Huaihe River plain region in China, the authors have developed a numerical modeling system that integrates water flux algorithms into a platform created by coupling a soil moisture model with the modular three-dimensional finite-difference groundwater flow model (MODFLOW). The modeling system is largely based on physical laws and employs a numerical method of the finite difference to simulate water movement and fluxes in a horizontally discretized watershed or field. The majority of model parameters carry physical significance and can be determined by field and laboratory measurements or derived from watershed characteristics contained in GIS and remote sensing data. Several other empirical parameters need to be estimated by model calibration. The numerical modeling system is calibrated in the Linhuanji catchment (2 560 km2) to estimate surface runoff, groundwater recharge, and groundwater loss for evapotranspiration and stream baseflow. Model validation is conducted at a small runoff experimental field (1.36 km2) in the Wuduogou Hydrological Experimental Station to test the model’s capability to simulate hydrological components and estimate water fluxes using observed stream stage and groundwater data, as well as lysimeter-measured precipitation recharge and groundwater loss. As proven by the promising results of model testing, this physically based and distributed-parameter model is a valuable contribution to the ever-advancing technology of hydrological modeling and water resources assessment.

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Xiuzhen Li, Yongqin David Chen, and Wen Zhou

Abstract

The response of moisture circulation to the daily evolution of the India–Burma Trough (IBT) and the modulation of disturbances along the South Asian waveguide are analyzed to seek a potential precursor of winter precipitation over south China. Daily observational precipitation and reanalysis data from ERA-Interim during 1979–2012 are employed. It is found that moisture circulation in response to the IBT is part of the zonally oriented wave trains along the South Asian waveguide, but it persists longer and migrates farther eastward than other lobes. Cyclonic moisture transport enhances the moisture supply to south China as a strong IBT develops, and shifts eastward abruptly after the peak of IBT with enhanced precipitation shifting from southwest to southeast China. This response is a joint effect of synoptic, intraseasonal, and interannual components that show similar wave train structures, whereas slight differences still occur. The synoptic component shows a shorter wavelength, more southerly path, faster phase speed, and group velocity, with the signal from the North Atlantic to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) in 6 days, implying that a disturbance over the North Atlantic is a potential precursor of winter precipitation over south China. The synoptic moisture convergence is more intensive than that at other scales upstream except over Southeast Asia, where all components are comparable. This might result from the constrained moisture source from BoB at the synoptic scale because of a short wavelength, while widespread sources from BoB–western North Pacific (WNP) at other scales as wavelengths are longer.

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Xiuzhen Li, Wen Zhou, and Yongqin David Chen

Abstract

A combination of Ward’s and k-means clustering was applied to a 3-month standardized precipitation index (SPI-03), and eight divisions of homogeneous drought variation throughout China were identified from the perspective of meteorological and agricultural droughts. A greater meridional gradient appeared over eastern China (six divisions) than over western China (two divisions).

The climate division facilitated the evaluating of not only regional but also widespread droughts. Trend evaluation showed that western north China (WNC) has become increasingly wet in recent decades, while northern northeast China (NNE) has become increasingly dry. The Yangtze River valley (YZ) tended to experience less and weaker drought after the late 1970s. Southern northeast China (SNE) and the southwestern China–Tibetan Plateau (SW-TP) showed a decreasing trend in long-term but not short-term SPIs, implying that long-term drought conditions might develop continuously, thus allowing the following droughts to develop more rapidly and with a stronger intensity. Examination of the drought risk under El Niño revealed that northern regions were likely to suffer from drought rather than flood in the developing phase and the reverse in the decaying phase. Southeastern China (SE) and the YZ were vulnerable to flood rather than drought in the mature and decaying spring, with SE subjected to drought in the decaying summer. Such a distinctive regional pattern of drought risks was closely connected with the abnormal moisture supply patterns modulated by ENSO in different phases.

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Jianfeng Li, Yongqin David Chen, Lu Zhang, Qiang Zhang, and Francis H. S. Chiew

Abstract

Future changes in floods and water availability across China under representative concentration pathway 2.6 (RCP2.6) and RCP8.5 are studied by analyzing discharge simulations from the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) with the consideration of uncertainties among global climate models (GCMs) and hydrologic models. Floods and water availability derived from ISI-MIP simulations are compared against observations. The uncertainties among models are quantified by model agreement. Only model agreement >50% is considered to generate reliable projections of floods and water availability and their relationships with climate change. The results show five major points. First, ISI-MIP simulations have acceptable ability in modeling floods and water availability. The spatial patterns of changes in floods and water availability highly depend on the outputs of GCMs. Uncertainties from GCMs/hydrologic models predominate the uncertainties in the wet/dry areas in eastern/northwestern China. Second, the magnitudes of floods throughout China increase during 2070–99 under RCP8.5 relative to those with the same return periods during 1971–2000. The increase rates of larger floods are higher than those of the smaller ones. Third, water availability decreases/increases in southern/northern China under RCP8.5, but changes negligibly under RCP2.6. Fourth, more severe floods in the future are driven by more intense precipitation extremes over China. The negligible change in mean precipitation and the increase in actual evapotranspiration reduce the water availability in southern China. Fifth, model agreements are higher in simulated floods than water availability because increasing precipitation extremes are more consistent among different GCM outputs compared to mean precipitation.

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Yangchen Lai, Jianfeng Li, Xihui Gu, Cancan Liu, and Yongqin David Chen

Abstract

During simultaneous or successive occurrences of precipitation and storm surges, the interplay of the two types of extremes can exacerbate the impact to a greater extent than either of them in isolation. The compound flood hazards from precipitation and storm surges vary across regions of the world because of the various weather conditions. By analyzing in situ observations of precipitation and storm surges across the globe, we found that the return periods of compound floods with marginal values exceeding the 98.5th percentile (i.e., equivalent to a joint return period of 12 years if the marginal variables are independent) are <2 years in most areas, while those in northern Europe are >8 years due to weaker dependence. Our quantitative assessment shows that cyclones [i.e., tropical cyclones (TCs) and extratropical cyclones (ETCs)] are the major triggers of compound floods. More than 80% of compound floods in East Asia and >50% of those in the Gulf of Mexico and northern Australia are associated with TCs, while in northern Europe and the higher-latitude coast of North America, ETCs contribute to the majority of compound floods (i.e., 80%). Weather patterns characterized by deep low pressure, cyclonic wind, and abundant precipitable water content are conducive to the occurrence of compound floods. Extreme precipitation and extreme storm surges over Europe tend to occur in different months, which explains the relatively lower probability of compound floods in Europe. The comprehensive hazard assessment of global compound floods in this study serves as an important reference for flood risk management in coastal regions across the globe.

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