Seasonal Flow Regimes of UK Rivers
Hannaford, J. and Buys, G. 2012. Trends in seasonal river flow regimes in the UK. Journal of Hydrology 475: 158-174.
Working with daily mean river flow data obtained from the UK National River Flow Archive (Dixon, 2010), Hannaford and Buys therefore set out to analyze trends in river flow between 1969 and 2008 in a network of 89 catchments from across the UK, focusing on those having "near-natural flow regimes," in order for "climate-driven trends to be distinguished from direct anthropogenic disturbances." In apparent harmony with climate model projections, the two researchers observed "an overall increase in winter river flows." But in conflict with what the models predict, they report that "in summer, there is no compelling evidence for a decrease in overall runoff or low flows, which is contrary to trajectories of most future projections."
In commenting on these findings, Hannaford and Buys note the following three points. First, that "the predominance of increasing flow trends across the seasons, coupled with limited decreases in low flows, is favorable from a water management perspective." Second, "the lack of any obvious tendency towards decreasing river flows (for summer and for low flows especially) is in apparent contrast to expectations for the relatively near future under climate change scenarios." And third, "the lack of decreasing river flows may reflect some degree of resilience to anthropogenic warming." Perhaps the future will not be as bad as some have feared...
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