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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 5102568, 12 pages
Research Article

Evolution of Hydrological Drought in Human Disturbed Areas: A Case Study in the Laohahe Catchment, Northern China

1State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China

Received 29 May 2015; Accepted 25 November 2015

Academic Editor: Maurits W. Ertsen

Copyright © 2016 Yi Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A case study on the evolution of hydrological drought in nonstationary environments is conducted over the Laohahe catchment in northern China. Using hydrometeorological observations during 1964–2009, meteorological and hydrological droughts are firstly analyzed with the threshold level method. Then, a comprehensive analysis on the changes within the catchment is conducted on the basis of hydrological variables and socioeconomic indices, and the whole period is divided into two parts: the undisturbed period (1964–1979) and the disturbed period (1980–2009). A separating framework is further introduced to distinguish droughts induced by different causes, that is, the naturalized drought and human-induced drought. Results showed that human activities are more inclined to play a negative role in aggravating droughts. Drought duration and deficit volume in naturalized conditions are amplified two to four times and three to eight times, respectively, when human activities are involved. For the two dry decades 1980s and 2000s, human activities have caused several consecutive drought events with rather long durations (up to 29 months). These results reflect the considerable impacts of human activities on hydrological drought, which could provide some theoretical support for local drought mitigation and water resources management.