Regional Quantification of Climatic and Anthropogenic Impacts on Streamflows in Sweden

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper


The anthropogenic impact on earth’s systems has rapidly increased since the middle of the last century and today it is hard to find a stream that is not influenced by human activities. The understanding of causes to changes is an important knowledge for future water management and planning and of that reason climatic and anthropogenic impact on streamflow changes in Sweden were explored and quantified. In the first step trends and abrupt changes in annual streamflow were detected and verified with the non- parametric Mann-Kendall’s and Pettitt’s test, all performed as moving window tests. In the second step HBV, a climatic driven rainfall-runoff model, was used to attribute the causes of the detected changes. Detection and attribution of changes were performed on several catchments in order to investigate regional patterns. On one hand using smaller window sizes, period higher number of detected positive and negative trends were found. On the other hand bigger window sizes resulted in positive trends in more than half of the catchments and almost no negative trends. The detected changes were highly dependent on the investigated time frame, due to periodicity, e.g. natural variability in streamflow. In general the anthropogenic impact on streamflow changes was smaller than changes due to temperature and streamflow. In median anthropogenic impact could explain 7% of the total change. No regional differences were found which indicated that anthropogenic impact varies more between individual catchments than following a regional pattern.

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