• 3H;
  • VIC;
  • climate change scenario;
  • hydrological projection

[1] To examine the potential sensitivity of the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain (3H) region of China to potential changes in future precipitation and temperature, a hydrological evaluation using the VIC hydrological model under different climate scenarios was carried out. The broader perspective is providing a scientific background for the adaptation in water resource management and rural development to climate change. Twelve climate scenarios were designed to account for possible variations in the future with respect to the baseline of historic climate patterns. Results from the six representative types of climate scenarios (+2°C and +5°C warming, and 0%, +15%, −15% change in precipitation) show that rising temperatures for normal precipitation and for wet scenarios (+15% precipitation) yield greater increased evapotranspiration in the south than in the north, which is confirmed by the remaining six scenarios described below. For a 15% change in precipitation, the largest increase or decrease of evapotranspiration occurs between 33 and 36°N and west of 118°E, a region where evapotranspiration is sensitive to precipitation variation and is affected by the amount of water available for evaporation. Rising temperatures can lead to a south-to-north decreasing gradient of surface runoff. The six scenarios yield a large variation of runoff in the southern end of the 3H, which means that this zone is sensitive to climate change through surface runoff change. The Jiangsu province in the southeastern part of the 3H region shows an obvious sensitivity in soil moisture to climate change. On a regional mean scale, the hydrological change induced by the increasing precipitation from 15% to 30% is more obvious than that induced by greater warming of +5°C relative to +2°C. These simulations identify key regions of sensitivity in hydrological variation to climate change in the provinces of 3H, which can be used as guides in implementing adaptation.