Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 134, Issue 1–2, pp 205–219 | Cite as

Understanding the impacts of climate change and human activities on streamflow: a case study of the Soan River basin, Pakistan

  • Muhammad ShahidEmail author
  • Zhentao Cong
  • Danwu Zhang
Original Paper


Climate change and land use change are the two main factors that can alter the catchment hydrological process. The objective of this study is to evaluate the relative contribution of climate change and land use change to runoff change of the Soan River basin. The Mann-Kendal and the Pettit tests are used to find out the trends and change point in hydroclimatic variables during the period 1983–2012. Two different approaches including the abcd hydrological model and the Budyko framework are then used to quantify the impact of climate change and land use change on streamflow. The results from both methods are consistent and show that annual runoff has significantly decreased with a change point around 1997. The decrease in precipitation and increases in potential evapotranspiration contribute 68% of the detected change while the rest of the detected change is due to land use change. The land use change acquired from Landsat shows that during post-change period, the agriculture has increased in the Soan basin, which is in line with the positive contribution of land use change to runoff decrease. This study concludes that aforementioned methods performed well in quantifying the relative contribution of land use change and climate change to runoff change.


Runoff change attribution Climate change Budyko framework abcd model Soan basin 


Funding information

This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 51479088 and 41630856). The author would like to thank Chinese Scholarship Counsel (CSC) for providing a nice research environment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Department of Hydraulic EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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