Water Science and Engineering 2009, 2(1) 1-15  DOI:   10.3882/j.issn.1674-2370.2009.01.001   ISSN: 1674-2370 CN: 32-1785/TV

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climate changes
human activities
annual highest water level
Taihu Lake
Qing-fang HU
Yin-tang WANG
Article by
Article by

Impact assessment of climate change and human activities on annual highest water level of Taihu Lake

1. Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, P. R. China
2. Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, P. R. China


The annual highest water level of Taihu Lake (Zm) is very significant for flood management in the Taihu Basin. This paper first describes the inter-annual and intra-annual traits of Zm from 1956 to 2000. Then, using the Mann-Kenall (MK) and Spearman (SP) nonparametric tests, the long-term change trends of area precipitation and pan evaporation in the Taihu Basin are determined. Meanwhile, using the Morlet wavelet transformation, the fluctuation patterns and change points of precipitation and pan evaporation are analyzed. Also, human activities in the Taihu Basin are described, including land use change and hydraulic project construction. Finally, the relationship between Zm, the water level of Taihu Lake 30 days prior to the day of Zm (Z0), and the 30-day total precipitation and pan evaporation prior to the day of Zm (P and E0, respectively) is described based on multi-linear regression equations. The relative influence of climate change and human activities on the change of Zm is quantitatively ascertained. The results demonstrate that: (1) Zm was distinctly higher during the 1980-2000 period than during the 1956-1979 period, and the 30 days prior to the day of Zm are the key phase influencing Zm every year; (2) P increased significantly at a confidence level of 95% during the 1956-2000 period, while the reverse was true for E0; (3) The relationship between Zm, P and E0 distinctly changed after 1980; (4) Climate change and human activities together caused frequent occurrences of high Zm after 1980; (5) Climate change caused a substantially greater Zm difference between the 1956-1979 and 1980-2000 periods than human activities. Climate change, as represented by P and E0, was the dominant factor raising Zm, with a relative influence ratio of 83.6%, while human activities had a smaller influence ratio of 16.4%.

Keywords climate changes   human activities   annual highest water level   Taihu Lake  
Received 2008-11-02 Revised 2009-01-12 Online:  
DOI: 10.3882/j.issn.1674-2370.2009.01.001
Corresponding Authors: Qing-fang HU
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