Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Quantifying Streamflow Regime Behavior and its Sensitivity to Demand

TitleQuantifying Streamflow Regime Behavior and its Sensitivity to Demand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume582
Pages124423
Abstract / Summary

This paper presents a new framework for quantitatively identifying, characterizing and analyzing systematic hydrological cycles resulting from streamflow variability in a way that integrates water supply and water de- mand. The hydrological cycles in question are measures of the most severe drought and pluvial events in a historical record of streamflow, along with their respective durations. The metrics developed here to quantify such episodes are based on an extended sequent peak algorithm that tracks the dynamic shifts in hydrological behavior of streamflow by accounting for water supply and demand with respect to streamflow. In the interest of being able to analyze the largest possible scope of hydrological cycles and behavior, we apply the quantitative methods developed in this paper to streamflow reconstructions in the Upper Missouri River Basin (UMRB) as a case study. We find that the duration of dry periods increase conspicuously as a function of increasing demand levels, the duration of pluvial events decrease as a function of increasing demand levels, and that the general tendency is for streamflow gauges on or near the main stem of the river to have shorter dry spell durations and typically lower drought severity. On the other hand, being on or near the main stem tends to result in longer- duration pluvial events, though these pluvials are typically less severe than those off the main stem. Persistence and spatial variability of streamflow reconstructions were also analyzed to shed further light on the spatial patterns identified earlier, and to see if this variability and persistence may have an influence on the behavior of the streamflow as quantified by the metrics defined in this paper. Finally, it was found that there is a stochastic dependence between the length of a drought and the time to recovery from that drought, and this dependence is used to create simple conditional probability curves to help water managers prepare for future extreme events.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124423
DOI10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124423
Funding Program: 
Journal: Journal of Hydrology
Year of Publication: 2020
Volume: 582
Pages: 124423
Publication Date: 03/2020

This paper presents a new framework for quantitatively identifying, characterizing and analyzing systematic hydrological cycles resulting from streamflow variability in a way that integrates water supply and water de- mand. The hydrological cycles in question are measures of the most severe drought and pluvial events in a historical record of streamflow, along with their respective durations. The metrics developed here to quantify such episodes are based on an extended sequent peak algorithm that tracks the dynamic shifts in hydrological behavior of streamflow by accounting for water supply and demand with respect to streamflow. In the interest of being able to analyze the largest possible scope of hydrological cycles and behavior, we apply the quantitative methods developed in this paper to streamflow reconstructions in the Upper Missouri River Basin (UMRB) as a case study. We find that the duration of dry periods increase conspicuously as a function of increasing demand levels, the duration of pluvial events decrease as a function of increasing demand levels, and that the general tendency is for streamflow gauges on or near the main stem of the river to have shorter dry spell durations and typically lower drought severity. On the other hand, being on or near the main stem tends to result in longer- duration pluvial events, though these pluvials are typically less severe than those off the main stem. Persistence and spatial variability of streamflow reconstructions were also analyzed to shed further light on the spatial patterns identified earlier, and to see if this variability and persistence may have an influence on the behavior of the streamflow as quantified by the metrics defined in this paper. Finally, it was found that there is a stochastic dependence between the length of a drought and the time to recovery from that drought, and this dependence is used to create simple conditional probability curves to help water managers prepare for future extreme events.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124423
Citation:
Ravindranath, A, and N Devineni.  2020.  "Quantifying Streamflow Regime Behavior and its Sensitivity to Demand."  Journal of Hydrology 582: 124423.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124423.