Characteristics of reservoir water temperatures in high and cold areas of the Upper Yellow River

  • Lei RenEmail author
  • Wei Wu
  • Ce Song
  • Xiaode Zhou
  • Wen Cheng
Original Article


Several reservoirs have been built in the high and cold areas of the Yellow River. This study analyzed the annual and seasonal distributions and variation characteristics of the water temperatures of reservoirs in different reaches based on water temperature observations. The results show that (1) the temperature of the water released from the reservoirs is less than 2 °C and is 2–4 °C lower than the natural temperature in the research area in the spring. Reservoirs in this area freeze in the winter, the water temperature structures of the reservoirs exhibit thermal stratification with inversion profiles, and the inversion profiles are greater than 50 m thick. The reservoir water is mixed to 4 °C and then becomes stratified in mid-April. Similarly, the stratified conditions turn to mixed conditions in November. (2) The operating conditions of the reservoirs influence the water temperature distributions in the reservoirs and the water temperatures of the downstream river channels. (3) The temperature of the water released from the reservoirs is significantly lower than the natural water temperature in the spring, which affects the spawning of downstream fish. (4) A three-dimensional water temperature simulation model was created, and the simulation results show that stratified intake can reduce the impacts of low water temperatures.


Upper Yellow River High and cold areas Water temperature Stratified intake 



We are grateful to three anonymous reviewers for the helpful suggestions. This study was financially supported by the the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 91747206, 51179151) and the Shaanxi Water Conservancy Science and Technology Project (No. 2017slkj-13).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xi’an University of Technology, State Key Laboratory of Eco-hydraulics in Northwest Arid RegionXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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