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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 569210
Title Future streamflow regime changes in the United States: Assessment using functional classification
Author(s) Brunner, Manuela I.; Melsen, Lieke A.; Newman, Andrew J.; Wood, Andrew W.; Clark, Martyn P.
Source Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 24 (2020)8. - ISSN 1027-5606 - p. 3951 - 3966.
DOI https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-24-3951-2020
Department(s) WIMEK
Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2020
Abstract

Streamflow regimes are changing and expected to further change under the influence of climate change, with potential impacts on flow variability and the seasonality of extremes. However, not all types of regimes are going to change in the same way. Climate change impact assessments can therefore benefit from identifying classes of catchments with similar streamflow regimes. Traditional catchment classification approaches have focused on specific meteorological and/or streamflow indices, usually neglecting the temporal information stored in the data. The aim of this study is 2-fold: (1) develop a catchment classification scheme that enables incorporation of such temporal information and (2) use the scheme to evaluate changes in future flow regimes. We use the developed classification scheme, which relies on a functional data representation, to cluster a large set of catchments in the conterminous United States (CONUS) according to their mean annual hydrographs. We identify five regime classes that summarize the behavior of catchments in the CONUS: (1) intermittent regime, (2) weak winter regime, (3) strong winter regime, (4) New Year's regime, and (5) melt regime. Our results show that these spatially contiguous classes are not only similar in terms of their regimes, but also their flood and drought behavior as well as their physiographical and meteorological characteristics. We therefore deem the functional regime classes valuable for a number of applications going beyond change assessments, including model validation studies or predictions of streamflow characteristics in ungauged basins. To assess future regime changes, we use simulated discharge time series obtained from the Variable Infiltration Capacity hydrologic model driven with meteorological time series generated by five general circulation models. A comparison of the future regime classes derived from these simulations with current classes shows that robust regime changes are expected only for currently melt-influenced regions in the Rocky Mountains. These changes in mountainous, upstream regions may require adaption of water management strategies to ensure sufficient water supply in dependent downstream regions.

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