Spatial Temporal Changes in Streamflow Patterns in Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec, Canada and their Relation to Precipitation Changes

By Jan Franklin Adamowski, Andreas Prokoph and Kaz Adamowski.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An understanding of trends in regional water resources and their relation to regional meteorological conditions is important to help develop appropriate climate change adaptation policies and strategies. This research quantified the spatial temporal variability of annual streamflow and precipitation changes using new data analysis methods (i.e., continuous wavelet transform and cross wavelet transform), as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The continuous wavelet transform and cross wavelet transform were used to detect and extract temporal changes in the annual streamflow amplitude and its relative phase shift to help assess spatial temporal differences and trends in the annual flood onset from 1969 to 1992 (when recordings were terminated) in 23 stations in Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec, Canada. This research resulted in a number of findings. It was determined that there was an approximately 0.5mm per month decrease in precipitation in the Southwestern part of Ontario during the study period. In the rural Northwest region of Ontario, there was an approximately 0.2 mm per year increase in precipitation. In the Northwest along the Ottawa River, the annual flood in 1992 occurred approximately 50 days earlier than in 1969; but only about 10 days earlier in the Southeastern streams. Streamflows in the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers were found to have lower annual amplitudes than the smaller and more pristine streams and rivers which had more seasonality. And finally, it was determined that the annual streamflow amplitude did not show any significant trend in time and space.

Keywords: Streamflow, Precipitation, Trend, Climate Change, Wavelet Analysis, GIS, Canada

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.155-170. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.702MB).

Prof. Jan Franklin Adamowski

Assistant Professor, Department of Bioresource Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Ste Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada

Dr. Jan Adamowski is an Assistant Professor in hydrology and water resources management in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University in Canada. He is also the Director of the Integrated Water Resources Management Program and the Associate Director of the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management at McGill. Dr. Adamowski’s research interests include: participatory and integrated modeling and assessment of watershed policies and strategies through the use of system dynamics modeling; modeling and forecasting of non-linear and non-stationary hydro-meteorological time series; and hydro-meteorological trend detection and estimation. Prior to coming to McGill, Dr. Adamowski was a Post-doctoral Associate at MIT in the USA.

Dr. Andreas Prokoph

Adjunct Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Canada. Statistician, Speedstat, Ottawa, Canada., Carleton University, Ontario, Quebec, Canada

Andreas Prokoph received his Ph.D. from the University Tübingen, Germany. He has worked at the GeoForschungszentrum in Potsdam, Germany, and at the University College London, United Kingdom. More recently he has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada. His research interests cover Cretaceous and Jurassic cyclostratigraphy, basin analysis, sedimentology, micropaleontology, and modeling and analysis of sedimentary patterns, seawater evolution, the paleontological record, as well as hydrological time series.

Kaz Adamowski

University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Kaz Adamowski is a retired Professor in statistical hydrology in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Ottawa in Canada.


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