Contribution of climatic variability and human activities to stream flow changes in the Haraz River basin, Northern Iran
Haghighi, Ali Torabi
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In northern Iran’s Haraz River basin between 1975 and 2010, hydrological sensitivity, double mass curve, and Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) methods were applied to monitoring and analysing changes in stream flow brought on by climatic variability and human activities. Applied to analyse trends in annual and seasonal runoff over this period, the sequential MK test showed a sudden change point in stream flow in 1994. The study period was, therefore, divided into two sub-periods: 1975–1994 and 1995–2010. The SWAT model showed obvious changes in water resource components between the two periods: in comparison to the period of 1975–1994, sub-watershed-scale stream flow and soil moisture decreased during 1995–2010. Changes in evapotranspiration were negligible compared to those in stream flow and soil moisture. The hydrological sensitivity method indicated that climatic variability and human activities contributed to 29.86% and 70.14%, respectively, of changes in annual stream flow, while the SWAT model placed these contributions at 34.78% and 65.21%, respectively. The double mass curve method indicated the contribution of climatic variability to stream flow changes to be 57.5% for the wet season and 22.87% for the dry season, while human activities contributed 42.5% and 77.13%, respectively. Accordingly, in the face of climatic variability, measures should be developed and implemented to mitigate its impacts and maintain eco-environmental integrity and water supplies.