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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland Project Work by Kevin Mersch E-mail: merschk@ethz.ch 05.12.2011 Supervisor: Dr. P.

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Project Work by Kevin Mersch

E-mail: merschk@ethz.ch

05.12.2011

Supervisor: Dr. P. Molnar

Beiblatt zu jeder an der ETH Zürich verfassten schriftlichen Arbeit

Ich erkläre mit meiner Unterschrift, das Merkblatt Plagiat (vgl. http://www.ethz.ch/students/semester/plagiarism_s_de.pdf) zur Kenntnis genommen, die vorliegende Arbeit selbständig verfasst und die im betroffenen Fachgebiet üblichen Zitiervorschriften eingehalten zu haben.

Supervisor

Studierender

Ort, Datum

Unterschrift

26.04.10 / NB

3

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Abstract

Mean daily streamflow records from 39 watersheds in Switzerland with a mostly undisturbed runoff regime are analysed for trends with the MannKendall non- parametric test in three study periods (1970-1990, 1980-2000, 1990-2010). The statistical significance of trends is tested for each station on a seasonal basis and for different streamflow quantiles at a 10% significance level. Identified trends in streamflow are examined and correlated with watershed attributes. Complex changes in the streamflow regime in Switzerland especially in the more recent periods have been identified, especially in autumn and winter. Particularly the most recent period (1990-2010) experiences a considerable shift from high towards low flows for every quantile in autumn and winter. The increasing trend of spring flows is experiencing a decaying development over the three analysed periods. Summer flows exhibit a decreasing trend, especially in magnitude. Behaviour in the summer period is different, indicating both upward and downward trends. Substantial differences in trends depending on mean basin altitude couldn’t be identified for any season but summer, where stations located between 1000m and 2000m experience increasing trends which stand in opposition to stations from higher or lower elevations. Winter median flow of watersheds without glacier remain unchanged, while basins with glaciers face downward trends. Correlation between mean watershed elevation and trends is strongly depen- dent on season and quantile. Correlation analyses reveal moderate relationships between streamflow trends and mean basin elevation and glacier coverage. Au- tumn and summer show negative correlation for low flows, resp. moderate flows. In winter high flows show a good correlation with magnitude of trend. Trends are present in every period for high and low flows. Magnitude de- pends on period and season of interest. Results suggest that, regardless of the type of environment of watersheds, all basins are subject to streamflow change, specifically in the last 20 years.

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Contents

1. Introduction

 

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2. Data

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3. Methods

 

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3.1. Mann-Kendall nonparametric trend test

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3.2. Theil-Sen slope estimate

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3.3. Spearman rank correlation .

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4. Results

 

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4.1. Trends

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4.2. Differences in altitude

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4.3. Correlation with basin attributes

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4.4. Open Quetions

 

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5. Conclusions

 

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6. Acknowledgements

 

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Literature

 

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A. Appendix A

 

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A.1. Stations

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A.1.1. Basin Attributes

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A.2. Results .

A.2.1.

. Slope estimate results

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A.2.2.

Mann-Kendall relative frequency results

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A.2.3.

Altitude groups results .

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A.2.4.

Glacier cover results

 

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A.2.5.

Spearman rank correlation results

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A.3. Additional Figures

 

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B. Appendix B

 

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B.1. Main Matlab Program for Mann-Kendall Theil-Sen

 

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B.2. Main Matlab Program for Representative Discharge

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List of Figures

 

1.

Representative Discharge [mm/season] for all season of q50 streamflow av-

 

eraged over all stations.

 

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5

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

2. Representative discharge [mm/year] for all season of q50 streamflow averaged

over all stations and grouped by station altitude.

 

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3. Relative frequencies of high( +) and low(-) flows over all stations for all

 

quantiles and for every period.

 

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4. Slope estimate for all quantiles and for every period.

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5. Slope estimate [mm/season] and standard deviation for 50- and 90-percent

 

quantiles grouped according to altitude for the period 1990-2010.

 

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6. Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent quantiles grouped according to

 

altitude for the period 1990-2010.

 

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7. Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent quantiles grouped according to

 

glacier cover for the period 1990-2010.

 

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8. Spearman rank correlation coefficients for mean basin altitude and estimated

 

slope (a) and MK Z statistic (b)

 

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9. Representative Discharge [mm/season] for all season of q90 streamflow av-

 

eraged over all stations.

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10. Representative discharge [mm/year] for all season of q90 streamflow averaged

 

over all stations and grouped by station altitude.

 

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11. Estimated slopes [mm/season] and standard deviation for 50- and 90-percent

 

quantiles grouped according to glacier cover for the period 1990-2010.

 

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12. Spearman rank correlation coefficients of relative glacier cover and estimated

 

slope (a) and MK Z statistic (b)

 

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6

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

1. Introduction

Trend detection in records of hydroclimatic variables (e.g. air temperature, precipitation, streamflow) contributes significantly to the on-going debate on climate change. So far the focus of research was on temperature and precipitation rather than on streamflow, giving reason to investigate the latter variable more closely. Records show general increase of temperature (and precipitation) [(M. Beniston u. Marinucci, 1994)], which have been related to climate change effects. The question arises, if these trends can also (already) be detected in streamflow data and again, if these trends can be related to climate change. It is still not clear if and how changes in air temperature and precipitation manifests itself in streamflow. Before this can be investigated, it is first necessary to analyse how streamflow regimes have changed. From the water resources management perspective persisting trends in streamflow are great importance, particularly trends of extreme events. Below in figure 1 a representative chart on runoff over the last forty years is shown. A trend is not obviously detectable with the bear eye; so statistical tools need to be considered to get a more predicative picture. What can be noticed clearly is the high variation in runoff magnitude from one season to the other.

variation in runoff magnitude from one season to the other. Figure 1: Representative Discharge [mm/season] for

Figure 1: Representative Discharge [mm/season] for all season of q50 streamflow averaged over all stations.

The big difference between temperature, precipitation and streamflow is that streamflow is an integrated variable over a watershed. This means that the influence of the first two hydroclimatic variables, which are both point measurements, should to a certain degree be

7

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

noticeable in the integrated value, namely streamflow. Further disadvantage of the first two variables is the high spatial and temporal variability, which can hamper detection of regional trends. Switzerland covers an area of 41,284 km 2 of which about two thirds is forest and agri- cultural land. Altitude ranges from 193 m (Lago Maggiore) to 4,634 m (Monte Rosa) and mean annual precipitation reaches about 1480 mm while mean annual runoff is about 960

mm (Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland, 1961–1980). In terms of water resources, 63% of

the surface water supplies are stored in natural lakes, 35% in glaciers and the remaining 2% in artificial lakes. Switzerland lies in four large European watersheds: the Rhine River,

draining into the North Sea, the Rhone and Po Rivers, draining into the Mediterranean

Sea, and the Inn which eventually drains into the Black Sea.

The data and methods are described in Section 2 and 3. Section 4 lists the main results according to the goals of this project work: first observed streamflow trends are investi- gated, then a correlation analysis between watershed attributes and observed streamflow trends is conducted. Last some open questions are identified. Finally, the main conclusions are summarized in Section 5.

8

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

2. Data

Data sources

The analysis of streamflow trends is conducted with data from 39 stations spread around the whole of Switzerland. All these stations provide records of mean daily streamflow rang- ing from 1970 to 2010. More stations were available depending on the period of analysis (52 in total). However, to be consistent in calculations, only stations that provided records over the whole of the above-mentioned period were considered. As former trend analysis of streamflow show, trend significance is strongly dependent on flow magnitude and thus season [Pavel Ya. Groisman u. Karl (2001), (D. P. Lettenmaier, 1991)]. Considering the facts on Switzerland mentioned in the previous section, snow and ice melt are important contributors to runoff seasonality. Streamflow trend analysis on an annual basis might conceal important information through averaging compared to a seasonal basis [M. Benis- ton u. Marinucci (1994), M.-V. Birsan (2005)]. Hence, seasonality was taken into account by defining four climatological seasons and analysing them separately (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter):

Table 1: Definition of season division

Season

Months

nr of Days

Spring

March - May

92

Summer

June - August

92

Autumn

September - November

91

Winter

December - January

90

After this, daily streamflows were not analysed directly, but data records were split into 3 periods of each 20 years with 10 overlapping years. This length of period seems to be adequate to capture trends without getting too much variability, which could complicate interpretation. In this project work shifts in the distribution of daily data are of interest, so the test is applied to quantiles determined at the seasonal timescale. The deciles of streamflows as well as minimum and maximum runoff were computed to minimise data load without losing to much representatitivity. The seasonal qquantile x q (i) of the mean daily flow X is obtained for every season (year) i as the value for which P r(X < x) = q. For instance, the q20-value of a station is the runoff for which 20% of all mean daily flows for the given season are below this value. To sum up, in order to identify shifts in the distribution of mean daily streamflow, a range of 11 quantiles on seasonal bases (q MIN ,

q MAX , and q10, q20

sis methods are standard: Mean daily runoff is analysed for trends with the MannKendall

nonparametric trend test and the Theil–Sen slope estimator (both presented in the next section).

q90)

were studied for three different observation periods. The analy-

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Streamflow data used in this work were high resolution records of mean daily discharge. The three main criteria for station selection [M.-V. Birsan (2005)] were:

no substantial influence by water withdrawals for hydropower or other water-use purposes

spatial independence between station records

at least 30 years of continuous and complete observations

Spatial independence for stations located along the same river was ensured by always choosing the upstream station. This offers a good compromise between the assumed in- dependence of station records and a relatively high number of stations [(M.-V. Birsan,

2005)].

Alititude groups

In Switzerland 52% of its area lies above 1000 m.a.s.l. and 23% above 2000 m. From a hydrological perspective, Switzerland can be divided into three distinct runoff regimes types: Alpine, Midland-Jura, and Southern Alpine (Aschwanden (1985)). So, to get a more detailed picture, the stations were grouped according to the mean altitude of the corresponding basin, so that they could be compared among each other. Furthermore, the groups were also compared to trends observed by computing all available stations. In appendix A.1.1 basin attributes and number of stations for each group are listed. For the period from 1990-2010 differences according to station altitude were analysed in terms of slope estimate and relative frequency. To lower data load only two runoff quantiles were looked at, namely q50 and q90.

Glacier cover

In addition to grouping stations by elevation, they are also divide into a group which present glacier cover and a group which doesn’t. Surely both attributes are quite similar and correlated to certain extent. This classification will likely reveal interesting facts, as basins that have an Alpine influence reach a maximum seasonal runoff in spring and summer. This analysis shall also only consider the 2 quantiles used in the altitude groups from year 1990 to 2010. Figure 2 shows the same runoff data as figure 1, but with gauging stations grouped according to the mean elevation of the corresponding watershed. It highlights that the diffences in flow magnitude related to seasonality is strongly dependent on altitude. The runoff from basins above 2000m fluctuates considerably compared to the other those of lower stations.

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

10 Streamflow Trends in Switzerland Figure 2: Representative discharge [mm/year] for all season of q50 streamflow

Figure 2: Representative discharge [mm/year] for all season of q50 streamflow averaged over all stations and grouped by station altitude.

.

For altitude, three groups were formed (0-1000m, 1000-2000m and >2000m), and for glacier cover only two (not glacier covered and partly glacier covered). Neither precipitation nor temperature data were considered, as this work should focus only on the output of the rainfall runoff system. Another reason is the relative abundance of assessments on these particular values compared to runoff data. (Representative discharge of the q90 streamflow can be found in appendix A.3).

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

3. Methods

Two different statistical tools were used to analyse if streamflow data presented any trends. First, nonparametric slope estimation was used to get an idea of the magnitude of trends throughout the time series. Also, the Mann-Kendall nonparametric trend test was em- ployed to give the estimated slopes a statistical significance. Simple but robust and distribution-free tools were preferred. As serial correlation was mostly avoided by dividing data according to seasons, no pre-whitening was applied to data to discriminate trends from stochastic fluctuations and the influence of serial correlation.

3.1. Mann-Kendall nonparametric trend test

Trend analysis in this project work was conducted with the nonparametric Mann-Kendall (MK) test. This test has been widely used in hydrological studies. It is distribution-free, robust against outliers, and has a higher power than many other commonly used tests [Hess (2001)]. The test, suitable for non-normally distributed data with non-linear trends, should be applied to uncorrelated data [Helsel u. Hirsch (2002)]. Computation of the MK

trend test statistic Z and the identification of statistically significant trends are explained

, 0.9; and also

to the seasonal minimum x min (i) and maximum x max (i), where i = 1,

tically significant trends are generally reported at the 10% significance level (α Z/2 = 0.1, two-tailed test). In this study the same significance level will be used to minimize type

II errors. The null and the alternative hypothesis of the MK test for trend in the random

, n years. Statis-

hereafter.

The MK test is applied to time series of x q (i) with q = 0.1, 0.2,

variable x are:

H 0 : Pr(x j > x i ) = 0.5,

H A : Pr(x j > x i )

= 0.5,

j > i, (two–sided test)

The Mann-Kendall statistic S is calculated as

S =

n1

n

k=1 j=k+1

sgn(x j x k )

(1)

where x j and x k are the data values in years j and k, respectively, with j > k. sgn() is the sign function:

sgn(x) =

1,

0,

1,

if

if

if

x j x k x j x k x j x k

> 0

= 0

< 0

(2)

Under the null hypothesis the distribution of S can be approximated well by a normal

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

2

distribution (large sample sizes n), with mean µ S and variance σ S given by:

µ S = 0,

σ S = n(n 1)(2n + 5)

2

m

i=1

t i (i)(i 1)(2i + 5) /18

(3)

This equation yields the variance of S with a correction for ties in data, with t i denoting the number of ties of extent i. The standard normal variate is used for hypothesis testing, called the MK trend test statistic Z.

Z =

S1

,

0,

,

σ

S

S+1

σ

S

if

if

if

S < 0

= 0

S

S < 0.

(4)

For a two-tailed test, the null hypothesis is rejected at significance level α (Type I error) if |Z| > Z α/2 , where Z α/2 is the value of the standard normal distribution with an exceedance probability α/2. Relative frequencies presented in the results section are obtained simply by dividing the number of Z values for which |Z | > Z α/2 applies by the total number of stations. Low and high flows are reported separately. So, the relative frequency for a given flow quantile indicates the percentage of stations that prsent a statistical significant trend of of high or low flows.

3.2. Theil-Sen slope estimate

The TheilSen slope estimator is a method for robust linear regression that chooses the median slope among all lines through pairs of two-dimensional sample points. It is a nonparametric method suitable for a nearly linear trend [Helsel u. Hirsch (2002)], and it is more robust than the least-squares estimator because it is much less sensitive to outliers, meaning that it can tolerate arbitrary corruption of up to 29.3% of the input data-points without degradation of its accuracy. It can be significantly more accurate than simple linear regression and competes well against simple least squares even for normally distributed data [Wikipedia] . The slope is computed between all pairs i of the variable x:

(j = 2,

,

n; k = 1,

β i = x j x k j k

, n 1)

,

with

j > k

(5)

where i = 1

N

For n values in the time series x this will result in N = n(n 1)/2

N .

. values of β. The slope estimate b is the median of b i , i = 1

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

3.3. Spearman rank correlation

The nonparametric rank-based Spearman correlation coefficient was used to report the

results of correlation analyses. Spearman’s ρ is a nonparametric rank-based correlation coefficient used to estimate the monotone association between two random variables. If

Y

tends to increase when X increases, the Spearman correlation coefficient is positive. If

Y

tends to decrease when X increases, the Spearman correlation coefficient is negative.

When X and Y are perfectly monotonically related, the Spearman correlation coefficient becomes 1. It is computed from the difference d between the ranks of independently sorted variables x and y [Kottegoda (2008)] :

ρ = 1 6 n

i=1 d 2

n(n 2 1)

(6)

Under the null hypothesis of no correlation between x and y, the distribution of ρ can be approximated by a normal distribution with mean µ ρ and variance σ ρ given by:

2

µ ρ = 0,

2

σ ρ = 1/(n 1)

(7)

The random variables x and y are considered correlated at the significance level α if

|ρ| > Z α/2 / n 1 for a two-tailed test. α = 0.1 was chosen for the analysis.

The causal aspects of identified trends in streamflow were investigated by correlation

mean altitude of the basin and percentage of glacier

analyses with 2 basin attributes:

cover.

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

4. Results

The main results are reported in three sections. First, trends in streamflow are analysed for different seasons and quantiles. Then, differences between groups with different station altitudes and glacier cover are investigated. Thereafter, relationships between trends and basin attributes are explored. Ultimately, some open questions are identified and discussed briefly.

4.1. Trends

As pointed out earlier, choice of study period length is important because it has an impact on trend identification. If a large scale periodic behaviour is present in the records, the length of analysis period should be chosen in a way that it spans one or more cycles of this process. A 20 year period is assumed to contain low and high flow periods and therefore identitified trends should not result from low–frequency large–scale behaviour in the recorded data. Also, as can be seen in the graphs below, changes in runoff have a strong seasonal dependence and should therefore be considered separately.

Mann-Kendall

Relative frequencies of high and low flows were investigated. In figure 3 up and down trends are shown for every season and period.

Spring: In the first period high flows are relatively frequent. Up to 40% of the stations manifest high flows for all quantiles. However, in the following two periods the frequencies of high flows exhibit a subsiding development, especially for the lower quantiles. On the other hand, frequencies of low flows tend to increase over the three periods. Still, in the most recent period quantiles above the median flow (q50) don’t display statistically significant low flows.

Summer: In this season there is little change over all periods, except for the frequencies of low flows from 1980-2000. It seems that the summer of this period had particularly frequent low flows. Taken aside this fact, there is no strong significant up- or downward trend indicated by the Mann–Kendall test.

Autumn: Autumn shows a similar picture as summer, with the difference that in this season an increase of frequent low flows occurs in the last period. Interestingly, the fre- quencies of low flows for the middle period don’t follow those of the previous season. Even high flows frequencies are more numerous after a relative ”dry” summer.

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

15 Streamflow Trends in Switzerland (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d) Winter Figure 3: Relative

(a) Spring

15 Streamflow Trends in Switzerland (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d) Winter Figure 3: Relative

(c) Autumn

15 Streamflow Trends in Switzerland (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d) Winter Figure 3: Relative

(b) Summer

Trends in Switzerland (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d) Winter Figure 3: Relative frequencies of

(d) Winter

Figure 3: Relative frequencies of high( +) and low(-) flows over all stations for all quantiles and for every period.

Winter: The first two periods reveal a rising number of high flows in winter. And yet, the last period presents the opposite situation. Frequencies of low flows have increased considerably whereas high flows have practically vanished. This can be an indication of an important shift of streamflow regime for the winter season.

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Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Theil-Sen slope estimate

Results for the Theil-Sen slope estimate for each season are shown below in figure 4.

slope estimate for each season are shown below in figure 4. (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b)

(a) Spring

for each season are shown below in figure 4. (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d)

(c) Autumn

season are shown below in figure 4. (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d) Winter Figure

(b) Summer

shown below in figure 4. (a) Spring (c) Autumn (b) Summer (d) Winter Figure 4: Slope

(d) Winter

Figure 4: Slope estimate for all quantiles and for every period.

Spring: In the first period (1970-1990) spring flows show an increasing trend for all stream- flow quantiles. The two following periods also demonstrate an increasing trend, but of lower magnitude. The other 2 periods show a reduced increase and even a decrease for the lower quantiles.

Summer: Summer flows clearly exhibit decreasing trends in all periods and for all quan- tiles, except for the maximum flow in the last period. In general the maximum flow in summer is due to heavy rainstorm events, so for the overall picture one can argue that summer flows are actively decreasing.

17

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Autumn flows present relatively small changes in the first two periods. Again,

there is a significant decrease in the most recent period. Put another way, this most likely is an indication of a change in the runoff regime.

Autumn:

Winter: Winter season pictures a faint upward trend in the first two periods for all quan- tiles but maximum flow. Similarly to autumn, the trend is inverted in the last period and for all quantiles (including maximum flow). Indeed, even the maximum flows in winter have substantially fallen from an extreme upward trend to a high decreasing trend. Accordingly, this again gives reason to presume a change in the winter streamflow regime.

Frequencies and magnitude

Looking at both frequency and magnitude together, the following can be said:

Spring flows show an increasing trend in both the Mann–Kendall test and the slope estimate. Moreover both also signal a subsiding development of this trend.

The MK test suggests that in summer, occurrence of high and low flows are more or less balanced in every period (except for low flows in the middle period), but the slope estimate clearly reveals a decreasing trend.

In summer period from 1990-2010, the maximum flow has a substantial increase but with a relative low frequency. Also, the frequencies of low flows are higher than those of high flows (except for q MIN , q10, q20). In each period low flows outnumber high ones in summer, yielding a decreasing trend in runoff.

A clear change is noticeable for the most recent period in both MK test and Theil- Sen estimate. In other words, frequencies of low flows have risen and slope estimates sketch out a decrease in flow magnitude over all quantiles.

Trends of streamflow in winter trace a similar, maybe even more pronounced, picture as in autumn. In this season, from 1990-2010, not only frequencies of low flows have risen, but frequencies of high flows have fall at the same time. Also the slope estimate has switched from a weak increasing to a decreasing trend.

18

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

4.2. Differences in altitude

For the period from 1990-2010, differences according to station altitude were analysed in terms of slope (fig. 5) and relative frequency (fig. 6). To lower data load only two runoff quantiles were looked at, namely q50 and q90.

two runoff quantiles were looked at, namely q50 and q90. Figure 5: Slope estimate [mm/season] and
two runoff quantiles were looked at, namely q50 and q90. Figure 5: Slope estimate [mm/season] and
two runoff quantiles were looked at, namely q50 and q90. Figure 5: Slope estimate [mm/season] and
two runoff quantiles were looked at, namely q50 and q90. Figure 5: Slope estimate [mm/season] and

Figure 5: Slope estimate [mm/season] and standard deviation for 50- and 90-percent quan- tiles grouped according to altitude for the period 1990-2010.

In spring, all 3 groups show an increasing slope. The summer season is most heteroge- neous with decreasing trends for low and high altitude stations, but an increasing slope for stations located between 1000m and 2000m. Autumn and winter both signal a decreasing trend for both quantiles. These graphs also show that if a trend is visible (increases or decreases), it tends to be a more pronounced for the higher quantile q90 (except for sum- mer). While this is true, there is no clearly discernible trend related to the mean elevation of the watershed when looking at both quantiles.

19

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Comparing the slope trends with the relative frequencies of high and low flows, reveals that the trends (slopes) found are endorsed by the Mann-Kendall test. Where spring displays a positive trend for every altitude, high flows are common whereas low flows are lacking. The previously identified decreasing slope in autumn is matched by frequent low flows. Particularly in winter for the 90 percent quantile, where slopes are slightly falling, low flows are quite frequent. This indicates that large runoff (q90) in winter is decreasing in magnitude and occur more seldom. To sum up, the mean altitude of a watershed does not play a significant role for streamflow regime alteration. Stations from all three altitude groups exhibit similar behaviour when compared to each other.

exhibit similar behaviour when compared to each other. Figure 6: Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent
exhibit similar behaviour when compared to each other. Figure 6: Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent
exhibit similar behaviour when compared to each other. Figure 6: Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent
exhibit similar behaviour when compared to each other. Figure 6: Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent

Figure 6: Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent quantiles grouped according to alti- tude for the period 1990-2010.

20

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

Glacier presence

To further investigate any relation between basin attributes and change in runoff regime, station records were divided into 2 groups depending on whether they presented glacier cover or not. For these two groups, only the frequencies of high and low flows were consid- ered. The results are shown in figure 7 .

were consid- ered. The results are shown in figure 7 . Figure 7: Relative frequencies for
were consid- ered. The results are shown in figure 7 . Figure 7: Relative frequencies for
were consid- ered. The results are shown in figure 7 . Figure 7: Relative frequencies for
were consid- ered. The results are shown in figure 7 . Figure 7: Relative frequencies for

Figure 7: Relative frequencies for 50- and 90-percent quantiles grouped according to glacier cover for the period 1990-2010.

Relative frequencies from both groups coincide most often. In summer, stations with no glacier don’t display any trend. In winter stations with glacier cover indicate a decreasing trend for both quantiles, whereas the other group only exhibits a downward trend for q90. This means that basins with glaciers are facing overall frequent low flows, while basins without only experience this trend for large runoff. The median flow of the latter stations is undisturbed. As seen earlier with elevation, no obvious relation of trend with glacier presence is detectable.

21

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

4.3. Correlation with basin attributes

In the graphs below (figure8) it is clear that correlation exists, but depends on season and quantile. However for smaller quantiles in winter there mostly is no statistically significant correlation between mean basin altitude and estimated slope. From the methods section, one can calculate that for a 10% significance level and 39 stations, basin attributes and trend are considered correlated if |ρ| > 0.27.

trend are considered correlated if | ρ | > 0 . 27. (a) (b) Figure 8:

(a)

are considered correlated if | ρ | > 0 . 27. (a) (b) Figure 8: Spearman

(b)

Figure 8: Spearman rank correlation coefficients for mean basin altitude and estimated slope (a) and MK Z statistic (b)

Correlation with estimated slope Positive correlation can be seen for high quantiles in Winter. Summer shows a negative correlation for moderate flows. Lower quantiles correlate negatively for autumn. Spring has no proper tendency.

Correlation with Mann-Kendall Z statistic No really significant correlation can be seen for all quantiles in Winter. The other three seasons are similar to the correlation with esti- mated slopes. In summer altitude correlates for moderate flows. Lower quantiles correlate well for autumn. Again, spring has no clear tendency, displaying positive and negative correlations both for high and low flows.

22

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

The Spearman rank–based correlation was also computed for glacier cover.Those corre- lation charts between glacier cover and streamflow trends can be found in appendix A.3. Results are comparable to those of mean basin altitude.

4.4. Open Quetions

As stated earlier, there seems to be a change in streamflow regime in at least 2 out of 4 seasons (autumn and winter), especially for when comparing the most recent period with the two previous ones. Now that changes have been identified, the question arises what these changes are due to and if in future these shifts will also be detectable in spring and summer. Several things have to be investigated:

The assumption that a 20 year period sufficiently captures any large-scale periodicity should be investigated. As pointed out by (P Pekarova, 2006) dry cycles of 13.5 and 28-29 years have been identified (see also P Pekarova (2003)).

Another issue is to assert that these changes are not due to anthropogenic factors nor emphasised by these. It is arguably nearly impossible to exclude anthropogenic influences altogether. If land use (and therfore land cover) changes in some of the analysed basins this can have influenced the streamflow regime. Also changes in the fluvial systems should be taken into account. The time scale, on which these effects occur from external factors, could give an indication on whether they influence trends or not.

we expect that most of the (natural) watershed changes occur on much longer timescales than those studied here, we recognise that they do contribute to hydrological vari- ability

Precipitation and air temperature data (focussing on days with minimum daily tem- perature above melting point) might explain some of the observed trends. Do changes in runoff properly reflect the input to a rainfall-runoff system, namely precipitation.

Changes in net glacier balance should be analysed together with identified trends to assess whether there is a relationship between both that can be due to climate change. For instance, glacier retreat will have an impact on land cover which again will impact runoff.

23

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

5. Conclusions

This project work presents a statistical analysis of trends in mean daily streamflow records from 39 watersheds in Switzerland with a mostly undisturbed runoff regime for three study periods (1970-1990, 1980-2000 and 1990-2010). Estimate of trend magnitude and statistically significant trends were computed for each station on a seasonal basis and for different streamflow quantiles. Identified trends in streamflow were correlated with watershed attributes. The main conclusions are as follows:

Trends are present in every period as well for high and low flows. Magnitude depends on period and season of interest.

Particularly the last period (1990-2010) experiences a significant increase of lower flows in Winter for every quantile. This suggests that winters are becoming increas- ingly dryer over the last 20 years.

In the winter season there is a considerable shift of frequent high flows to frequent low flows in the last period of analysis (1990-2010).

The increasing trend of Spring flows is experiencing a decaying development over the three analysed periods.

Summer flows exhibit a decreasing trend, particularly in magnitude.

Autumn also reveals a shift in the last period. A decreasing trend in magnitude matches an increase of statistical significant low flows from 1990-2010.

Winter flows also show a substantial shift in the last period similar to the autumn season. In Addition to a rising number of low flows, the season presents only very few high flows.

There was no discernible dependence of trends related to the mean elevation of the analysed watersheds.

Basins lacking presence of glacier don’t show any trend. Particularly in winter median flow of watersheds without glacier remains unchanged, while basins with glaciers face downward trends for both q50 and q90. This trend should be followed closely if it persists, because it can give an indication on what is happening to precipitation in higher altitudes.

Correlation between mean watershed elevation and trends is strongly dependent on season and quantile. No significant correlation was found in spring. Autumn and summer show negative correlation for low flows, resp. moderate flows. In winter high flows show a good correlation with magnitude of trend (estimated slope).

24

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

The altitude groups followed the same trend patterns as the ones found when com- puting trends from all the available stations.

25

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

6. Acknowledgements

Thanks for the data I received from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN or BAFU in german). Thanks to my supervisor Dr. Peter Molnar, who patiently guided me through this project work. Special Thanks to the 2 anonymous reviewers, who helped to improve this report.

26

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

References

[Aschwanden 1985] Aschwanden, Weingartner R. H.:

Pub. Gew¨asserkunde, 1985

Runoff Regimes in Switzerland.

[D. P. Lettenmaier 1991] D. P. Lettenmaier, Eric F. W. JAMES R. WALLIS W. JAMES R. WALLIS: A Daily Hydroclimatological Data Set for the Continental United States. In: WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH (1991)

[Helsel u. Hirsch 2002] Helsel, D.R. ; Hirsch, R.M.:

Resources. U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, 2002

Statistical Methods in Water

[Hess 2001] Hess, Iyer H. Malm W. A.: Linear trend analysis: a comparison of methods. In: Atmospheric Environment (2001), 10

[Kottegoda 2008] Kottegoda, Rosso R. N.T.: Statistics, Probability, and Reliability for Civil and Environmental Engineers. Bd. 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008

[M. Beniston u. Marinucci 1994] M. Beniston, F. G. M. Rebetez R. M. Rebetez ; Mar- inucci, M. R.: An Analysis of Regional Climate Change in Switzerland. In: Theoretical and Applied Climatology (1994)

[M.-V. Birsan 2005] M.-V. Birsan, P. Burlando M. P. P. Molnar M. P. Molnar: Streamflow trends in Switzerland. In: Journal of Hydrology (2005)

[P

Pekarova 2003] P Pekarova, J. P. P. Miklanek M. P. Miklanek: Spatial and temporal runoff oscillation analysis of the main rivers of the world during the 19th–20th centuries. In: Journal of Hydrology (2003)

[P

Pekarova 2006] P Pekarova, J. P. P. Miklanek M. P. Miklanek: Long-term trends and runoff fluctuations of European rivers. In: Climate Variability and Change—Hydrological Impacts (2006)

[Pavel Ya. Groisman u. Karl 2001] Pavel Ya. Groisman, Richard W. K. ; Karl, Thomas R.: Heavy Precipitation and High Streamflow in the Contiguous United States:

Trends in the Twentieth Century. In: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

(2001)

[Wikipedia ] Wikipedia: Wikipedia. http://de.wikipedia.org, Abruf: 05. Dec 2011

27

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

A. Appendix A

A.1. Stations

A.1.1. Basin Attributes

%_ROCK %GLACIER PREC_ANN

1215

1338

1067

1277

1816

1224

1284

1251

1011

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.9

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.1

0

0

SOIL

93

97

56

76

86

90

34

82

71

RIV_DENS MEAN_CN

66.5

66.5

69.5

68.8

71.9

70.4

70.1

72.1

68

!"#$%&%'(%)

2095

3729

1693

1943

1223

1647

1406

2522

918

SLOPE

23.8

13.6

12.2

11.3

11.6

15.1

7.3

2.6

10

K-Gravelius ALTITUDE

585

988

648

649

473

924

842

722

761

1.905

2.258

1.979

2.537

2.333

1.886

2.686

2.772

1.7

AREA

48.5

73.9

78.9

59.9

183

124

342

392

261

NEW_ID

2159

2343

2126

2034

2122

2202

2312

2132

2321

833
915

650
479

528
549

883

863

843

ID

%_ROCK %GLACIER PREC_ANN

1535

1488

1408

1337

1723

1807

1403

1396

1474

1194

2151

1.7

9.7

0.3

4.3

3.4

0

0

0

0

0

0

21.9

24.7

57.6

14.6

14.6

19.4

9.9

4.3

3.3

2.6

3.4

SOIL

28.8

65

19

39

29

33

16

24

50

32

71

RIV_DENS MEAN_CN

78.5

74.8

74.3

72.7

73.4

74.2

69.2

74.1

75.1

76

84

!"#$%*%'(%)

1058

2138

1847

1006

2574

2380

2854

2844

1950

1352

4121

SLOPE

25.5

17.9

30.9

25.9

29.9

15.8

23.2

17.2

34.2

19

29

K-Gravelius ALTITUDE

1853.5

1815

1069

1989

1618

1808

1797

1336

1020

1634

1000

1.865

2.079

1.549

1.593

1.807

2.576

1.896

1.916

1.484

1.991

2.19

AREA

28.8

43.9

59.2

105

493

227

616

180

344

352

25

NEW_ID

2179

2187

2303

2426

2276

2356

2300

2150

2232

2481

2151

637
1127

822
1143

698
825

799

978

750
879

864

ID

%_ROCK %GLACIER PREC_ANN

1455

1038

1098

1737

1367

1346

1636

1392

1152

1110

1311

865

845

948

927

737

816

990

994

16.5

45.7

29.3

19.7

22.7

32.6

32.6

16.6

32.1

21.1

5.5

0.8

2.7

2.6

7.2

1.2

0

0

0

37.5

26.5

30.8

15.9

26.8

31.8

33.3

23.7

34.7

20.3

34.7

36.6

26.6

33.2

47.2

23.1

37.1

38.1

57

SOIL

15

25

19

17

17

17

27

13

10

10

20

20

10

10

10

22

22

21

11

RIV_DENS MEAN_CN

69.5

79.5

77.8

78.9

74.8

78.8

72.9

73.8

76.7

70.6

81.4

64.4

76.4

69.2

73.2

74.2

82.1

67

70

!"#$%&%'(%&

2098

1069

1268

1553

1977

2367

1256

1524

1304

1290

1072

1732

1772

1222

1192

1511

828

708

713

SLOPE

33.8

23.8

22.8

31.8

26.9

29.3

24.7

24.3

28.3

25.3

33.6

29.6

27.4

25.4

30.1

27.1

26.1

29

27

K-Gravelius ALTITUDE

2335

2125

2655

2648

2548

2328

2277

2366

2196

2616

2710

2330

2710

2290

2152

2012

2221

2031

2371

1.835

2.185

1.949

1.799

1.753

1.773

1.676

1.906

1.896

1.626

1.744

1.754

1.624

1.804

1.644

1.742

1.961

1.861

1.691

AREA

66.5

77.8

26.9

38.9

73.3

77.7

55.3

35.7

43.3

20.6

778

379

529

183

107

913

164

14.1

192

ID NEW_ID

2355

2299

2269

2219

2268

2319

2109

2087

2263

2327

2256

2346

2366

2304

2200

2342

2262

2141

2351

890
735

877
298

152
778

838
848

387
614

782
793

716

826
866

862

792

922

821

31

Streamflow Trends in Switzerland

A.2. Results

A.2.1. Slope estimate results

1970;1990

read%stations available

 

spring

summer

autumn

winter

39

44

qmin

0.85

;1.88

;0.45

0.26

q10

 

1.28

;1.90

;0.40

 

0.19

 

q20

 

1.46

;1.37

;0.41

 

0.18

q30

 

1.67

;0.89

;0.37

 

0.09

q40

 

1.90

;1.02

;0.19

 

0.04

q50

 

1.74

;0.43

0.14

 

0.03

q60

 

1.70

0.07

0.42

 

0.17

q70

 

2.78

0.30

0.94

 

0.57

q80

 

5.28

;0.17

;0.34

 

1.13

q90

 

6.53

;0.08

;0.81

 

1.96

qmax

10.13

;7.40

1.82

 

20.36

 

1980;2000

 
 

spring

summer

autumn

winter

39

51

qmin

0.42

;0.16

0.66

0.06

q10

 

0.54

;0.26

0.80

 

0.21

 

q20

 

0.60

;0.28

0.82

 

0.18

q30

 

0.14

;1.15

0.87

 

0.25