Sensitivity of intermittent streams to climate variations in the USA

River Research and Applications
By: , and 

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Abstract

There is a great deal of interest in the literature on streamflow changes caused by climate change because of the potential negative effects on aquatic biota and water supplies. Most previous studies have primarily focused on perennial streams, and there have been only a few studies examining the effect of climate variability on intermittent streams. Our objectives in this study were to (1) identify regions of similar zero-flow behavior, and (2) evaluate the sensitivity of intermittent streams to historical variability in climate in the United States. This study was carried out at 265 intermittent streams by evaluating: (1) correlations among time series of flow metrics (number of zero-flow events, the average of the central 50% and largest 10% of flows) with climate (magnitudes, durations and intensity), and (2) decadal changes in the seasonality and long-term trends of these flow metrics. Results identified five distinct seasonality patterns in the zero-flow events. In addition, strong associations between the low-flow metrics and historical changes in climate were found. The decadal analysis suggested no significant seasonal shifts or decade-to-decade trends in the low-flow metrics. The lack of trends or changes in seasonality is likely due to unchanged long-term patterns in precipitation over the time period examined.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sensitivity of intermittent streams to climate variations in the USA
Series title River Research and Applications
DOI 10.1002/rra.2939
Volume 32
Issue 5
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Publisher location Chichester, UK
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Eastern Branch
Description 11 p.
First page 885
Last page 895
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N