Harrigan et al 2014 HESS - attribution of detected changes in streamflow.pdf (1.7 MB)

Attribution of detected changes in streamflow using multiple working hypotheses

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journal contribution
posted on 18.11.2014 by Shaun Harrigan, Conor Murphy, J. Sweeney, Julia Hall, Robert Wilby
This paper revisits a widely cited study of the Boyne catchment in east Ireland that attributed greater streamflow from the mid-1970s to increased precipitation linked to a shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation. Using the method of multiple working hypotheses we explore a wider set of potential drivers of hydrological change. Rainfall-runoff models are used to reconstruct streamflow to isolate the effect of climate, taking account of both model structure and parameter uncertainty. The Mann-Kendall test for monotonic trend and Pettitt change point test are applied to explore signatures of change. Contrary to earlier work, arterial drainage and simultaneous onset of field drainage in the 1970s and early 1980s are now invoked as the predominant drivers of change in annual mean and high flows within the Boyne. However, a change in precipitation regime is also present in March, thereby amplifying the effect of drainage. This new explanation posits that multiple drivers acting simultaneously were responsible for the observed change, with the relative contribution of each driver dependant on the timescale investigated. This work demonstrates that valuable insights can be gained from a systematic application of the method of multiple working hypotheses in an effort to move towards more rigorous attribution, which is an important part of managing emerging impacts on hydrological systems. © Author(s) 2014.

Funding

This research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC). Julia Hall acknowledges support by the ERC Advanced Grant “Flood Change”, project no. 615 291152.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

Volume

18

Issue

5

Pages

1935 - 1952

Citation

HARRIGAN, S. ... et al, 2014. Attribution of detected changes in streamflow using multiple working hypotheses. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18 (5), pp. 1935 - 1952.

Publisher

Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union / © The Authors

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Publication date

2014

Notes

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Copenicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

ISSN

1027-5606

eISSN

1607-7938

Language

en

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