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Detection of Linkages Between Extreme Flow Measures and Climate Indices

Authors: Mohammed Sharif, Donald Burn


Large scale climate signals and their teleconnections can influence hydro-meteorological variables on a local scale. Several extreme flow and timing measures, including high flow and low flow measures, from 62 hydrometric stations in Canada are investigated to detect possible linkages with several large scale climate indices. The streamflow data used in this study are derived from the Canadian Reference Hydrometric Basin Network and are characterized by relatively pristine and stable land-use conditions with a minimum of 40 years of record. A composite analysis approach was used to identify linkages between extreme flow and timing measures and climate indices. The approach involves determining the 10 highest and 10 lowest values of various climate indices from the data record. Extreme flow and timing measures for each station were examined for the years associated with the 10 largest values and the years associated with the 10 smallest values. In each case, a re-sampling approach was applied to determine if the 10 values of extreme flow measures differed significantly from the series mean. Results indicate that several stations are impacted by the large scale climate indices considered in this study. The results allow the determination of any relationship between stations that exhibit a statistically significant trend and stations for which the extreme measures exhibit a linkage with the climate indices.

Keywords: flood analysis, low-flow events, climate change, trend analysis, Canada

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