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Climate, Irrigation, and Land Cover Change Explain Streamflow Trends in Countries Bordering the Northeast Atlantic

Authors
  • Vicente‐Serrano, S. M.
  • Peña‐Gallardo, M.
  • Hannaford, J.
  • Murphy, Craig
  • Lorenzo‐Lacruz, J.
  • Dominguez‐Castro, F.
  • López‐Moreno, J. I.
  • Beguería, S.
  • Noguera, I.
  • Harrigan, S.
  • Vidal, J.P.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1029/2019GL084084
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-02610065v1
Source
HAL-Descartes
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

Attribution of trends in streamflow is complex, but essential, in identifying optimal management options for water resources. Disagreement remains on the relative role of climate change and human factors, including water abstractions and land cover change, in driving change in annual streamflow. We construct a very dense network of gauging stations (n = 1,874) from Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Portugal for the period of 1961-2012 to detect and then attribute changes in annual streamflow. Using regression‐based techniques, we show that climate (precipitation and atmospheric evaporative demand) explains many of the observed trends in northwest Europe, while for southwest Europe human disturbances better explain both temporal and spatial trends. For the latter, large increases in irrigated areas, agricultural intensification, and natural revegetation of marginal lands are inferred to be the dominant drivers of decreases in streamflow.

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