Climate factors and human activities are the leading causes of changes in the hydrological cycle. In addition to being an important part of the hydrological cycle, runoff is also an important indicator for assessing the amount of available water. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the reasons that have caused changes in runoff. In this study, the causes of runoff changes in the alluvial fan of the Choshui River from 1980–2018 are explored. Two simple methods, including a decomposition method based on the Budyko structure and a method based on climate elasticity, for which the necessary data are easy to obtain, are used to quantify the impact of climate factors and human activities on runoff changes. The results show that the runoff in the long term shows a significant transition point in 2003, where climate factors have contributed more than 90% of the change, while the influence of human activities on the changes in runoff appears to be relatively small. Moreover, the Budyko method and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) show that the vegetation cover has decreased. In addition to providing a simple method to assess the causes of changes in runoff, this study also analyzes the causes of changes in the runoff of the alluvial fan of the Choshui River to provide a reference for water resource policy and land use management.
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