Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Fleming, S.W., Whitfield, P.H., Moore, R.D. and Quilty, E.J. 2007. Regime-dependent streamflow sensitivities to Pacific climate modes across the Georgia-Puget transboundary ecoregion. Hydrological Processes 21: 3264-3287.
Organization UBC
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.6544/abstract
Abstract/Description or Keywords ENSO;PDO;Georgia Basin;Puget Sound;watershed;river discharge;climate;seasonal;flow regime
The Georgia Basin–Puget Sound Lowland region of British Columbia (Canada) and Washington State (USA) presents a crucial test in environmental management due to its combination of abundant salmonid habitat, rapid population growth and urbanization, and multiple national jurisdictions. It is also hydrologically complex and heterogeneous, containing at least three streamflow regimes: pluvial (rainfall-driven winter freshet), nival (melt-driven summer freshet), and hybrid (both winter and summer freshets), reflecting differing elevation ranges within various watersheds. We performed bootstrapped composite analyses of river discharge, air temperature, and precipitation data to assess El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) impacts upon annual hydrometeorological cycles across the study area. Canadian and American data were employed from a total of 21 hydrometric and four meteorological stations. The surface meteorological anomalies showed strong regional coherence. In contrast, the seasonal impacts of coherent modes of Pacific circulation variability were found to be fundamentally different between streamflow regimes. Thus, ENSO and PDO effects can vary from one stream to the next within this region, albeit in a systematic way. Furthermore, watershed glacial cover appeared to complicate such relationships locally; and an additional annual streamflow regime was identified that exhibits climatically driven non-linear phase transitions. The spatial heterogeneity of seasonal flow responses to climatic variability may have substantial implications to catchment-specific management and planning of water resources and hydroelectric power generation, and it may also have ecological consequences due to the matching or phase-locking of lotic and riparian biological activity and life cycles to the seasonal cycle. The results add to a growing body of literature suggesting that assessments of the streamflow impacts of ocean–atmosphere circulation modes must accommodate local hydrological characteristics and dynamics.
Information Type article
Regional Watershed Coast Region
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name Dan Moore
Contact Email [email protected]