The relative impact of urbanization and precipitation on long-term water level variations in the Yangtze River Delta.


School of Geographical Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, China; School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. Electronic address: [Email]


The combined and individual hydrological impacts of climate variation and urbanization have been extensively discussed over the past few decades, yet little is known about the relative impact of each. In this paper we took one of the most developed regions worldwide, Yangtze River Delta, as an example to analyse the long-term relative impacts of precipitation and urbanization change on water level alterations, based on precipitation, water level series, and annual impervious area data from 1960 to 2015. Abrupt changes detection in the water level series divided the data into the pre-impact period (1960-1988) and impacted period (1989-2015), and relative impacts of precipitation and urbanization on the water level increase from pre-impacted to impacted period, as well as their spatial and seasonal variations were estimated with the elasticity method. The results indicated that the urbanization change showed no distinct influence on the water level rise in the pre-impact period, while the precipitation played distinct roles only during summer months in the impacted period; the precipitation dominated two thirds of the water level rise in flood season, and in non-flood season the urbanization controlled the two thirds of the water level rise; spatially, the water level variations in old and new urban area were dominated by precipitation and urbanization process respectively; compared with precipitation amount, the water level correlated more strongly to the contribution ratio of precipitation. The results would provide a good reference for flood control and water resource management in the river basin, especially in the economically developed areas.


Central Taihu Basin,Elasticity analysis,Precipitation,Relative impact,Urbanization,Water level,