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Trends in the timing and magnitude of floods in Canada.

Cunderlik, Juraj M.; Ouarda, Taha B. M. J. (2009). Trends in the timing and magnitude of floods in Canada. Journal of Hydrology , vol. 375 , nº 3-4. p. 471-480. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.06.050.

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This study investigates trends in the timing and magnitude of seasonal maximum flood events across Canada. A new methodology for analyzing trends in the timing of flood events is developed that takes into account the directional character and multi-modality of flood occurrences. The methodology transforms the directional series of flood occurrences into new series by defining a new location of the origin. A test of flood seasonality (multi-modality) is then applied to identify dominant flood seasons. Floods from the dominant seasons are analyzed separately by a seasonal trend analysis. The Mann–Kendall test in conjunction with the method of pre-whitening is used in the trend analysis. Over 160 streamflow records from one common observation period are analyzed in watersheds with relatively pristine and stable land-use conditions. The results show weak signals of climate variability and/or change present in the timing of floods in Canada during the last three decades. Most of the significant trends in the timing of spring snowmelt floods are negative trends (earlier flood occurrence) found in the southern part of Canada. There are no significant trends identified in the timing of fall rainfall floods. However, the significance of the fall, rainfall-dominated flood season has been increasing in several analyzed watersheds. This may indicate increasing intensity of rainfall events during the recent years. Trends in the magnitude of floods are more pronounced than the trends in the timing of floods. Almost one fifth of all the analyzed stations show significant trends in the magnitude of snowmelt floods. Most of the significant trends are negative trends, suggesting decreasing magnitudes of snowmelt floods in Canada over the last three decades. Significant negative trends are found particularly in southern Ontario, northern Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. There are no significant trends in the magnitude of rainfall floods found in the analyzed streamflow records. The results support the outcomes of previous streamflow trend studies conducted in Canada.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: flood seasonality; directional statistics; multi-modality; trends; climate change; Canada
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 08 janv. 2021 15:16
Dernière modification: 08 janv. 2021 15:16
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/10804

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