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Development of a methodology to assess future trends in low flows at the watershed scale using solely climate data.

Foulon, Étienne; Rousseau, Alain N.; Gagnon, Patrick (2018). Development of a methodology to assess future trends in low flows at the watershed scale using solely climate data. Journal of Hydrology , vol. 557 . p. 774-790. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.12.064.

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Résumé

Low flow conditions are governed by short-to-medium term weather conditions or long term climate conditions. This prompts the question: given climate scenarios, is it possible to assess future extreme low flow conditions from climate data indices (CDIs)? Or should we rely on the conventional approach of using outputs of climate models as inputs to a hydrological model? Several CDIs were computed using 42 climate scenarios over the years 1961–2100 for two watersheds located in Québec, Canada. The relationship between the CDIs and hydrological data indices (HDIs; 7- and 30-day low flows for two hydrological seasons) were examined through correlation analysis to identify the indices governing low flows. Results of the Mann-Kendall test, with a modification for autocorrelated data, clearly identified trends. A partial correlation analysis allowed attributing the observed trends in HDIs to trends in specific CDIs. Furthermore, results showed that, even during the spatial validation process, the methodological framework was able to assess trends in low flow series from: (i) trends in the effective drought index (EDI) computed from rainfall plus snowmelt minus PET amounts over ten to twelve months of the hydrological snow cover season or (ii) the cumulative difference between rainfall and potential evapotranspiration over five months of the snow free season. For 80% of the climate scenarios, trends in HDIs were successfully attributed to trends in CDIs. Overall, this paper introduces an efficient methodological framework to assess future trends in low flows given climate scenarios. The outcome may prove useful to municipalities concerned with source water management under changing climate conditions.

Type de document: Article
Informations complémentaires: Embargo
Mots-clés libres: effective drought index; 7-Day low flow; 30-Day low flow; HYDROTEL; trends; climate model
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 29 janv. 2018 21:44
Dernière modification: 29 janv. 2018 21:44
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/6784

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