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Title: Historical trends and extremes in boreal Alaska river basins

Climate change will shift the frequency, intensity, duration and persistence of extreme hydroclimate events and have particularly disastrous consequences in vulnerable systems such as the warm permafrost-dominated Interior region of boreal Alaska. This work focuses on recent research results from nonparametric trends and nonstationary generalized extreme value (GEV) analyses at eight Interior Alaskan river basins for the past 50/60 years (1954/64–2013). Trends analysis of maximum and minimum streamflow indicates a strong (>+50%) and statistically significant increase in 11-day flow events during the late fall/winter and during the snowmelt period (late April/mid-May), followed by a significant decrease in the 11-day flow events during the post-snowmelt period (late May and into the summer). The April–May–June seasonal trends show significant decreases in maximum streamflow for snowmelt dominated systems (<–50%) and glacially influenced basins (–24% to –33%). Annual maximum streamflow trends indicate that most systems are experiencing declines, while minimum flow trends are largely increasing. Nonstationary GEV analysis identifies time-dependent changes in the distribution of spring extremes for snowmelt dominated and glacially dominated systems. Temperature in spring influences the glacial and high elevation snowmelt systems and winter precipitation drives changes in the snowmelt dominated basins. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation was associated with changes occurringmore » in snowmelt dominated systems, and the Arctic Oscillation was linked to one lake dominated basin, with half of the basins exhibiting no change in response to climate variability. The paper indicates that broad scale studies examining trend and direction of change should employ multiple methods across various scales and consider regime dependent shifts to identify and understand changes in extreme streamflow within boreal forested watersheds of Alaska.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States)
  2. Univ. of Victoria, Victoria, BC (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-1694; PII: S0022169415003248
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Hydrology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 527; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-1694
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES extreme events; streamflow; trends; GEV; boreal; Alaska