An assessment of the recent evolution of the streamflow in a near-natural system: a case study in the headwaters of the Mero Basin (Galicia, Spain)
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2259
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5338/7/4/97
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Observational trend analysis is fundamental for documenting changes in river flows and placing extreme events in their longer-term historical context. Observations from near-natural catchments, i.e., with little or no alteration by humans, are of great importance in detecting and attributing streamflow trends. The purpose of this study is to analyze the annual and seasonal trends of stream discharge (mean, low and high flows) in a headwater catchment in NW Spain, i.e., in the wettest corner of the Iberian Peninsula. The results showed no significant decrease in the mean annual stream discharge. However, significantly lower summer and autumn mean stream discharge and an increase in low flow period were detected, in addition to lesser autumn high flow. The rainfall pattern followed an upward trend, but was not significant. This different pattern shown by rainfall and discharge indicates that is not sufficient to explain the observed trend in stream discharge. Air temperature, most notably by enhancing evapotranspiration, may explain the altered patterns of stream discharge.
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