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Flow dynamics at the continental scale : Streamflow correlation and hydrological similarity

Title data

Betterle, Andrea ; Schirmer, Mario ; Botter, Gianluca:
Flow dynamics at the continental scale : Streamflow correlation and hydrological similarity.
In: Hydrological Processes. Vol. 33 (2018) Issue 4 . - pp. 627-646.
ISSN 1099-1085
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.13350

Abstract in another language

Streamflow variability in space and time critically affects anthropic water uses and ecosystem services. Unfortunately, spatiotemporal patterns of flow regimes are often unknown, as discharge measurements are usually recorded at a limited number of hydrometric stations unevenly distributed along river networks. Advances in understanding the physical processes that control the spatial patterns of river flows are therefore necessary to predict water availability at ungauged locations or to extrapolate pointwise streamflow observations. This work explores the use of the spatial correlation of river flows as a metric to quantify the similarity between hydrological responses of two catchments. Following a stochastic framework, 340,000 cross‐correlations between pairs of daily streamflows time series are predicted at a seasonal timescale across the contiguous United States using 413 catchments of the MOPEX dataset. Model predictions of streamflow correlation obtained in absence of run‐off information are successfully used to identify catchment outlets sharing similar discharge dynamics and flow regimes across a broad range of geomorphoclimatic conditions, without relying on calibration. The selection of reference streamgauges based on predicted streamflow correlation generally outperforms the selection based on spatial proximity, especially as the density of available gauged sections decreases. Interestingly, correlated outlets share a broad spectrum of hydrological signatures (mean discharge, flow variability, and recession properties), suggesting that catchments forced by analogous frequency and intensity of effective rainfall events might exhibit common geomorphoecological traits leading to similar hydrological responses. The proposed framework provides a physical basis to assist the regionalization of flow dynamics and to interpret the spatial variability of flow regimes along stream networks. Please note that an open access post-print version of this manuscript will be available after an embargo period here.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER150312
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 09:56
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 09:56
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48144