Chen, H; Liu, HL; Chen, X; Qiao, YN (2020). Analysis on impacts of hydro-climatic changes and human activities on available water changes in Central Asia. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 737, 139779.

Water resources in Central Asia are very scarce due to natural and anthropogenic impacts. Water shortages have been a major factor hampering the socio-economic development of Central Asia. Exploring internal interactions among climate change, human activities and terrestrial hydrological cycles will help to improve the management of water resources in Central Asia. In this paper, hydro-climatic and anthropogenic data for the period 2003-2016 from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the Global Land Data Assimilation System(GLDAS), the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) were used to analyze the influence of natural factors and human activities on changes of available water (AWC). The terrestrial water storage derived from GRACE and GLDAS remarkably declined in 2008, due to a serious drought, but increased thereafter. The AWC positively responded to the vegetation index, evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration and air temperature at a lag of 0-1 month, but to precipitation at a lag of 2-3 months. Results of correlation analysis with a spatial square moving window indicated that forests, grasses, croplands and water areas presented significantly positive correlations with AWC, while barren areas and urban areas were negatively correlated with AWC. According to the Boruta algorithm and the Random Forest model, natural factors, namely precipitation, evapotranspiration and potential evapotranspiration, were major factors for AWC in the whole Central Asia. Human activities had direct and indirect impacts on AWC. With the development of society and economy, croplands and urban areas gradually increased, resulting in a rising demand for water withdrawals for agriculture irrigation and industry. The unreasonable utilization and exploitation of water resources led to vegetation degradation and ecosystem deterioration, which would worsen the shortage of water resources in arid regions of Central Asia. (c) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.