Surface runoff change is affected by climate change and human activities. Quantitative assessment the impacts of climate change and human activities on surface runoff changes is significant for water resources management. This paper analyzes the mechanism that climate change and human activities affect the change of surface runoff based on the process of hydrological cycle and compares the methods that separate the impacts of climate change and human activities. Then, the paper analyzes the differences of the contribution rates of climate change and human activities on surface runoff of some watersheds on globe. At present, integrating multiple mutation test methods is beneficial for improving the accuracy in identifying the abrupt change point of surface runoff. Eliminating the interference factors (such as the selection of meteorological and hydrological data, the parameter setting of model method and inherent uncertainty of methods) is of great significance to improve the consistency of the results of different quantitative methods. The key of future research is to find ways that could better couple the physical hydrological model methods and mathematical empirical methods to separate the impact of climate change and human activities on the change of surface runoff.