Impacts of climate variations on non-stationarity of streamflow over Canada Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • With climate change, understanding and assessing the impact of climate variations on non-stationary changes of streamflow is of importance in the hydrologic and atmospheric sciences. In this study, tempo-spatial and scaling effects in the impacts of 18 climate variations on nonstationary streamflow for 279 watersheds across Canada are explored. Specifically, the change point and trends of streamflow are examined through Pettitt's test and Mann-Kendall test. Spatial patterns of correlations between the climate variations and flow rates over Canada, especially their non-stationarity, are investigated at seasonal and decadal scales. The patterns are also quantified by seven spatial classification algorithms under method uncertainty. A series of findings regarding the impacts are revealed. For instance, nonstationary changes of streamflow exist for approximately 9% of Canadian watersheds and most of them are located in Prairie Provinces and the eastern coast. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, Niño 12, Niño 3, Niño 4, and Niño 3.4 pose significant impacts on Canadian streamflow, which vary with watersheds and seasons. The impacts are closely associated with human activities, e.g., significant impacts of climate variations on populated-area streamflow over Canada. Different climatic variations have different time-varying effects on streamflow. All watersheds have obvious clustering characteristics and four spatial patterns are identified, which is insensitive with classification algorithm. These findings are conducive to understanding the hydrological impacts of atmospheric circulation and enhancing the reliability of hydrological prediction.

publication date

  • June 2021