PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (12): 2140-2152.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.12.013

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Review on the methods to separate the impacts of climate and human activities on sediment discharge

CHENG Si1(), YU Xingxiu1, LI Zhenwei2,3,*(), XU Xianli2,3   

  1. 1. Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    2. Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, CAS, Changsha 410125, China
    3. Huanjiang Observation and Research Station for Karst Ecosystem, CAS, Huanjiang 547100, Guangxi, China
  • Received:2021-01-11 Revised:2021-04-09 Online:2021-12-28 Published:2021-12-24
  • Contact: LI Zhenwei;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41730748);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41977073);National Key Research and Development Program of China(2019YFE0116900);Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(2020359)


As an important part of hydrological process, sediment transport is closely related to regional water resources, soil management, and even the healthy operation of ecosystem. Therefore, quantifying the relative contribution rate of climate change and human activities to sediment transport variation has become a hot issue in hydrology research. In this study, nine methods of attribution analysis of sediment discharge change, including simple linear regression analysis, double cumulative curve method, sediment attribution diagnosis analysis method, dam-sedimentation based method, sediment delivery distributed (SEDD) model, soil & water assessment tool (SWAT) model, elastic coefficient method, similar weather conditions method, and soil and water conservation method were systematically summarized. The calculation process and applicability of each method were elaborated, and the attribution analysis of sediment discharge change in the future was also discussed. Specifically, future work should try to enhance the application of new methods to explore a more appropriate new method for sediment discharge prediction. The impact of extreme rainfall events on sediment transport changes should be considered as well so that the accuracy of the results can be improved. Additionally, the limitations and differences of each attribution analysis method should be clarified, and hence the integration of existing evaluation methods and their mutual verification can improve the precision of the prediction. The results from this study can provide a scientific basis for the comprehensive management of ecological hydrology and land resources management in watersheds.

Key words: sediment transport, attribution analysis, empirical regression method, soil erosion model