Multi-temporal scale modeling on climatic-hydrological processes in data-scarce mountain basins of Northwest China

  • Jianhua XuEmail author
  • Chong WangEmail author
  • Weihong Li
  • Jingping Zuo
Original Paper


Previous studies showed that the climatic processes drive the streamflow of the inland river in Northwest China. However, it is difficult to quantitatively assess the climatic-hydrological processes in the ungauged mountainous basins because of the scarce data. This research developed an integrated approach for multi-temporal scale modeling the climatic-hydrological processes in data-scarce mountain basins of Northwest China by combining downscaling method (DM), backpropagation artificial neural network (BPANN), and wavelet regression (WR). To validate the approach, we also simulated the climatic-hydrological processes at different temporal scales in a typical data-scarce mountain basin, the Kaidu River Basin in Northwest China. The main results are as follows: (i) the streamflow is related with regional climatic change as well as atmosphere-ocean variability, (ii) the BPANN model well simulated the nonlinear relationship between the streamflow and temperature and precipitation at the monthly temporal scale, and (iii) although the annual runoff (AR) appears to have fluctuations, there are significant correlations among AR, annual average temperature (AAT), annual precipitation (AP), and oscillation indices, which can be simulated by equations of WR at different temporal scales of years.


Climatic-hydrological processes Multi-temporal scale Data-scarce mountain basin Downscaling Backpropagation artificial neural network Wavelet regression 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41630859), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA19030204), and the Open Foundation of State Key Laboratory, Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. G2014-02-07).


  1. Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Thompson WL (2000) Null hypothesis testing: problems, prevalence, and an alternative. J Wildl Manag 64(4):912–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Cannon AJ, McKendry IG (2002) A graphical sensitivity analysis for statistical climate models: application to Indian monsoon rainfall prediction by artificial neural networks and multiple linear regression models. Int J Climatol 22(13):1687–1708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen J, Kumar P (2004) A modeling study of the ENSO influence on the terrestrial energy profile in North America. J Clim 17(8):1657–1670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen YN, Xu ZX (2005) Plausible impact of global climate change on water resources in the Tarim River Basin. Sci China Earth Sci 48(1):65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen YN, Takeuchi K, Xu CC, Chen YP, Xu ZX (2006) Regional climate change and its effects on river runoff in the Tarim Basin, China. Hydrol Process 20(10):2207–2216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen YN, Xu CC, Hao XM, Li WH, Chen YP, Zhu CG, Ye ZX (2009) Fifty-year climate change and its effect on annual runoff in the Tarim River Basin, China. Quatern Int 20(1):53–61Google Scholar
  8. Chen YN, Xu C, Chen YP, Liu YB, Li WH (2013) Progress, challenges and prospects of eco-hydrological studies in the Tarim River Basin of Xinjiang, China. Environ Manag 51(1):138–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Georgakakos KP, Graham NE, Modrick TM, Murphy MJ Jr, Shamir E, Spencer CR, Sperfslage JA (2014) Evaluation of real-time hydrometeorological ensemble prediction on hydrologic scales in Northern California. J Hydrol 519:2978–3000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hao XM, Chen YN, Xu CC, Li WH (2008) Impacts of climate change and human activities on the surface runoff in the Tarim River Basin over the last fifty years. Water Resour Manag 22(9):1159–1171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Loukas A, Vasiliades L (2014) Streamflow simulation methods for ungauged and poorly gauged watersheds. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 14(7):1641–1661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Perdomo A, Hussain O (2011) A multisystem climate change adaptation approach for water sustainability in regional Australia. Int J Global Warm 3(1/2):39–54. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Shao QX, Wong H, Li M, Ip WC (2009) Streamflow forecasting using functional-coefficient time series model with periodic variation. J Hydrol 368(1–4):88–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Shi YF, Shen YP, Kang ES, Li DL, Ding YJ, Zhang GW, Hu RJ (2007) Recent and future climate change in Northwest China. Clim Chang 80(3–4):379–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wang J, Li H, Hao X (2010) Responses of snowmelt runoff to climatic change in an inland river basin, Northwestern China, over the past 50 years. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14(10):1979–1987. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wang C, Xu JH, Chen YN, Bai L, Chen Z (2018) A hybrid model to assess the impact of climate variability on streamflow for an ungauged mountainous basin. Clim Dyn 50(7–8):2829–2844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wang XL, Sun L, Zhang YQ, Luo Y (2016) Rationalization of altitudinal precipitation profiles in a data-scarce glacierized watershed simulation in the Karakoram. Water 8(5):186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wu Z, Huang NE (2009) Ensemble empirical mode decomposition: a noise-assisted data analysis method. Adv Adapt Data Anal 1(1):1–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Xu JH (2002) Mathematical methods in contemporary geography. Higher Education, Beijing, pp 37–105 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  20. Xu JH, Lu Y, Su FL, Ai NS (2004) R/S and wavelet analysis on the evolutionary process of regional economic disparity in China during the past 50 years. Chinese Geogr Sci 14(3):193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Dong S (2008a) Long-term trend and fractal of annual runoff process in mainstream of Tarim River. Chin Geogr Sci 18(1):77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Xu JH, Chen YN, Ji MH, Lu F (2008b) Climate change and its effects on runoff of Kaidu River, Xinjiang, China: a multiple time-scale analysis. Chin Geogr Sci 18(4):331–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Ji MH, Dong S (2009a) The complex nonlinear systems with fractal as well as chaotic dynamics of annual runoff processes in the three headwaters of the Tarim River. J Geogr Sci 19(1):25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Ji MH, Dong S, Hong YL (2009b) Wavelet analysis and nonparametric test for climate change in Tarim River Basin of Xinjiang during 1959-2006. Chin Geogr Sci 19(4):306–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Xu JH, Li WH, Ji MH, Lu F, Dong S (2010) A comprehensive approach to characterization of the nonlinearity of runoff in the headwaters of the Tarim River, Western China. Hydrol Process 24(2):136–146Google Scholar
  26. Xu JH, Chen YN, Lu F, Li WH, Zhang LJ, Hong YL (2011a) The nonlinear trend of runoff and its response to climate change in the Aksu River, Western China. Int J Climatol 31(5):687–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Yang Y, Hong YL (2011b) An integrated statistical approach to identify the nonlinear trend of runoff in the Hotan River and its relation with climatic factors. Stoch Env Res Risk A 25(2):223–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Nie Q, Hong YL, Yang Y (2013a) The nonlinear hydro-climatic process in the Yarkand River, Northwestern China. Stoch Env Res Risk A 27(2):389–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Peng PY, Yang Y, Song CN, Wei CM, Hong YL (2013b) Combining BPANN and wavelet analysis to simulate hydro-climatic processes—a case study of the Kaidu River, North-West China. Front Earth Sci 7(2):227–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Xu JH, Chen YN, Li WH, Nie Q, Song C, Wei CM (2014) Integrating wavelet analysis and BPANN to simulate the annual runoff with regional climate change: a case study of Yarkand River, Northwest China. Water Resour Manag 28(9):2523–2537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Xu JH, Chen YN, Bai L, Xu YW (2016) A hybrid model to simulate the annual runoff of the Kaidu River in Northwest China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 20(4):1447–1457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Xu JH (2018) Wavelet regression: an approach for undertaking multi-time scale analyses of hydro-climate relationships. Methods X 5:561–568Google Scholar
  33. Zhang Q, Xu CY, Tao H, Jiang T, Chen D (2010) Climate changes and their impacts on water resources in the arid regions: a case study of the Tarim River Basin, China. Stoch Env Res Risk A 24(3):349–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhu JW, Zhou LA, Huang SZ (2018) A hybrid drought index combining meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural information based on the entropy weight theory. Arab J Geosci 11(5):91CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), School of Geographic SciencesEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Research Center for East-West Cooperation in ChinaEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.School of Social SciencesShanghai University of Engineering ScienceShanghaiChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina

Personalised recommendations