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Study Reveals Dynamics of Runoff, River Sediments and Climate Change in Upper Reaches of Tarim River, China

The Tarim River is the longest inland river in China and the mainstream of the Tarim River is a plain-type river that lies in the hinterland of the Tarim Basin, running from Xiaojiake to Taitema Lake with a total length of 1321 km and a basin area of 1.76×104 km2. With little precipitation and intense evaporation, the region’s water resources are poor and the ecological environment is arid and fragile. 

In order to understand the development trends and interpretation the influence on sediment under the climate changes, the researchers investigated the changing tendencies of precipitation, runoff, sediment by basing on the flow and sediment data collected at the Aral Hydrological Station (controlling water inflow from the upper reaches of the Tarim River) located at the inlet of the Tarim River mainstream and the precipitation data, and then using statistical methods analyzed their interrelationships in the study catchment. 

The results of the temporal analysis show that both water and sediment at the Aral Hydrological Station have decreased in the past 50 years, although these trends were not significant. The monthly distribution analysis showed that sediment load was more concentrated and more unstable compared to runoff during the flood season. The correlation analysis showed that annual sediment load is more related to annual maximum peak discharge followed by precipitation. 

This research will help to characterize the variation of runoff and sediment load to the mainstream of the Tarim River, and provide information for river basin management in the area. The study was published in Quaternary International in June 2014. 

 

From: http://english.cas.cn/ST/RE/re_project/201407/t20140730_125191.shtml

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