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Hydrological response to changing climate conditions: Spatial streamflow variability in the boreal region
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3344-2468
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Umeå, Sweden.
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2015 (English)In: Water resources research, ISSN 0043-1397, E-ISSN 1944-7973, Vol. 51Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper we combined a multi-model ensemble based on 15 regional climate models with a multi-catchment approach to explore the hydrologic sensitivity of 14 neighboring and rather similar catchments to changing climate conditions. Current (1982-2010) and future (2062-2090) streamflow was simulated with the HBV model. A diagnostic approach was used, which considered major behavioral catchment functions by using hydrologically relevant signatures related to overall water balance, flow duration curves and hydrograph attributes. Projected increases in temperature and precipitation resulted in increased total available streamflow, with lower spring and summer flows, but substantially higher winter streamflow. Furthermore, significant changes in flow durations with lower chances of both high and low flows can be expected in boreal Sweden in the future. This overall trend in projected streamflow pattern changes was comparable among the analyzed catchments but the magnitude of change differed considerably. This suggests that catchments belonging to the same region can show distinctly different degrees of hydrological responses to the same external climate change signal. We reason that differences in spatially distributed physical catchment properties within catchments are not only of great importance for current streamflow behavior, but also play a major role in the sensitivity of catchments to changing climate conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 51
Keyword [en]
Climate Change, Hydrology, Streamflow, Sweden, HBV
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Climate Research
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Environmental Analysis; Earth Science with specialization in Physical Geography; Hydrology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266270DOI: 10.1002/2015WR017337ISI: 000368421500003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-266270DiVA: diva2:867646
Swedish Research Council FormasMistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchThe Kempe Foundations
Available from: 2015-11-05 Created: 2015-11-05 Last updated: 2016-09-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spatiotemporal streamflow variability in a boreal landscape: Importance of landscape composition for catchment hydrological functioning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatiotemporal streamflow variability in a boreal landscape: Importance of landscape composition for catchment hydrological functioning
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Avrinningens rumsliga och tidsmässiga variation i ett borealt landskap : Landskapets betydelse för avrinningsområdets hydrologiska funktion
Abstract [en]

The understanding of how different parts of a landscape contribute to streamflow by storing and releasing water has long been a central issue in hydrology. Knowledge about what controls streamflow dynamics across landscapes can further our understanding of how catchments store and release water, facilitate predictions for ungauged catchments, and improve the management of water quality and resources. This thesis makes use of data from the Krycklan catchment in northern Sweden. Streamflow data from 14 catchments (0.12 - 68 km2) with variable landscape characteristics such as topography, vegetation, wetland cover, glacial till soils and deeper sediment soils were used to investigate spatial patterns and controls on runoff.

The differences in specific discharge (discharge per unit catchment area) between nearby catchments were large at the annual scale, and have the same magnitude as predicted effects of a century of climate change or the observed effects of major forestry operations. This variability is important to consider when studying the effects of climate change and land use changes on streamflow, as well as for our understanding of geochemical mass balances. Streamflow from different catchments was strongly related to landscape characteristics. The distribution of wetland areas had a particularly strong influence, with an annual specific discharge 40-80% higher than catchments with high tree volume on till soils. During drier periods, catchments with deeper sediment soils at the lower elevations of Krycklan had a higher base flow compared to both forested till and wetland catchments. This pattern was reversed at high flows. The storages releasing water to streams in downstream sediment areas were able to maintain base flow for longer periods and were less influenced by evapotranspiration compared to the more superficial till and wetland systems.

The results of this thesis have led to a better understanding of the landscape wide patterns of streamflow during different seasons and time scales. The strong associations to landscape characteristics and variable spatial patterns with season and antecedent conditions form the basis for a conceptual understanding of the processes and spatial patterns that shape the heterogeneity of streamflow responses in boreal catchments.

Abstract [sv]

Hur olika delar av landskapet påverkar vattenbalansen och bidrar till avrinning har länge varit en central fråga inom hydrologin. Kunskap om vad som styr avrinningsdynamiken i ett landskap kan öka vår förståelse av hur olika delar av landskapet bidrar till avrinning, hur avrinningsområden lagrar vatten och bildar avrinning, underlätta prognoser för avrinningsområden utan vattenföringsmätningar och förbättra hanteringen av vattenkvaliteten och vattenresurser. Denna avhandling använder data från Krycklans avrinningsområde i norra Sverige. Vattenföringsdata från 14 delavrinningsområden (0.12 - 68 km2) med olika landskapskarakteristik såsom topografi, vegetation och jordarter, användes för att undersöka rumsliga mönster hos avrinningen över olika tidsperioder samt hur landskapet påverkar variabiliteten.

Skillnaderna i specifik avrinning (avrinning per areaenhet) mellan närliggande avrinningsområden var stor för årliga värden, och är i samma storleksordning som effekterna av stora skogsavverkningar samt av förutspådda effekter av det kommande seklets förväntade klimatförändringar. Denna variation är viktig att ta hänsyn till när man studerar hur klimatförändringar och ändrad markanvändning påverkar avrinningen, liksom för vår förståelse av geokemiska massbalanser. Avrinning från olika områden var starkt relaterad till deras landskapsegenskaper. Förekomsten av våtmarker hade ett särskilt starkt inflytande. Områden med en stor andel våtmarker hade 40-80% högre årlig specifik avrinning än områden med hög trädvolym på moränjordar. Under torrare perioder hade områden med djupare sedimentjordar hög avrinning jämfört med både områden med skog på morän och med våtmarker. Under höga flöden var detta mönster omvänt. De vattenlager som bidrar till avrinning i sedimentområden kan upprätthålla basflöde under längre tidsperioder och påverkas mindre av evapotranspirationen än de ytligare flödessystemen i morän och våtmarker.

Avhandlingen har givit en bättre förståelse av avrinningens rumsliga variation under olika årstider och i olika tidsskalor. Det starka sambandet mellan landskapskarakteristik och avrinningens varierande mönster under olika årstider och lagringsförhållanden utgör en grund för en begreppsmässig förståelse av de processer och rumsliga mönster som skapar heterogeniteten i flödesrespons i boreala områden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 64 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1420
streamflow, catchment hydrology, boreal, water balance, spatiotemporal variability, landscape analysis, climate change, recession curve
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302400 (URN)978-91-554-9680-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-21, Hambergsalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-01 Last updated: 2016-10-11

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