Water is one of the most critical resources in China. Climate change and soil degradation will be two major, interrelated environmental challenges faced by managers of water resources in coming decades. In this study, we used a water-balance model and updated databases to assess the interacting impacts of climate change and soil degradation on China's future water resources. We plotted the spatial pattern of changes in actual and potential evapotranspiration, soil moisture deficits, and surface runoff across China in the 2020s using a resolution of 0.5°latitude and longitude under scenarios based on climate change, soil degradation, and a combination of the two. The results showed that climate change would affect the magnitude and spatial pattern of water resources on a national scale. Some regions in central, southwestern, and northeastern China would become more vulnerable to disastrous drought and floods as a result of soil degradation. Under the combined impacts of climate change and soil degradation, soil moisture deficits would increase most in central, western, and southwestern China; surface runoff would increase most in southeastern China. More detailed process-based models are needed to capture feedback mechanisms more effectively.
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