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Streamflow timing of mountain rivers in spain: recent changes and future projections

Lorenzo-Lacruz, Jorge
López-Moreno, Juan Ignacio
Published in Journal of Hydrology. 2014, vol. 517, p. 1114-1127
Abstract Changes in streamflow timing are studied in 27 mountain rivers in Spain, in the context of climate warming. The studied rivers are characterized by a highflows period in spring due to snowmelt, although differences in the role of snow and consequently in the timing of flows are observed amongst cases. We calculated for every year of the studied period (1976-2008) two hydrological indices that enable locating the timing of spring flows within the annual hydrologic regime, i.e. the day of 75 per cent of mass, and the day of spring maximum. The evolution of these indices was compared with that of seasonal precipitation and temperature, and trends in time were calculated. Results show a general negative trend in the studied indices which indicates that spring peaks due to snowmelt are shifting earlier within the hydrological year. Spring temperatures, which show a significant increasing trend, are the main co-variable responsible for the observed changes in the streamflow timing. In a second set of analyses we performed hydrological simulations with the SWAT model, in order to estimate changes in streamflow timing under projected warming temperatures. Projections show further shifting of spring peak flows along with a more pronounced low water level period in the summer. The simulations also allowed quantifying the role of snowfall snowmelt on the observed changes in streamflow.
Keywords Iberian mountainsStreamflow timingPeak flowsSnowmeltClimate warming
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Research groups Climatic Change and Climate Impacts
ISE Pôle Sciences
ISE Climat
Project FP7: ACQWA
(ISO format)
MORAN, Enrique et al. Streamflow timing of mountain rivers in spain: recent changes and future projections. In: Journal of Hydrology, 2014, vol. 517, p. 1114-1127. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:38560

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Deposited on : 2014-07-08

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