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Historical and future changes of blue water and green water resources in the Yangtze River source region, China

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Abstract

The change of water resources resulting from climate warming in the Yangtze River Source Region (YRSR) has aroused wide concern in recent years. This research used the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) to estimate the blue water (BW), green water flow (GWF), and green water storage (GWS). Then, the spatial and temporal change of BW, GWF, and GWS over the recent decades and next several decades was investigated. Results show that (1) the BW and GWF have increased by 2.3 mm/10a and 34.2 mm/10a from 1960 to 2012, while the GWG has decreased slightly by 0.19 mm/10a during the same period. (2) The spatial patterns of BW, GWF, and GWS have been changed obviously from 1980s to 2000s, especially for BW and GWF. The BW and GWF in the west and north of the YRSR where the water resource is relatively less are more sensitive to climate change; (3) the annual average temperature and precipitation in the YRSR are projected to increase by 2.2 °C and 9.8% during 2021 to 2050 compared to that during the 1961 to 1990. There is higher uncertainty in BW and GWS projection and the model-averaged BW and GWS would change little. The projected percent changes of GWF and GWS would be 15% and − 11.1% with less uncertainty. The obvious change of BW, GWF, and GWS in the future would occur in the west and north of the YRSR, which is similar with the spatial change in the historical period.

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Funding

This research was funded by [National Key Research and Development Project] grant number [2017YFC0403606]; [National Natural Science Foundation of China] grant number [41890821, 51709008]; [National Public Research Institutes for Basic R&D Operating Expenses Special Project] grant number [CKSF2019292/SH+SZ, CKSF2017061/SZ, CKSF2017029].

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Correspondence to Zhe Yuan.

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Yuan, Z., Xu, J. & Wang, Y. Historical and future changes of blue water and green water resources in the Yangtze River source region, China. Theor Appl Climatol 138, 1035–1047 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-019-02883-z

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