Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Water
Impact Factor: 4.436

The changing water cycle: hydroclimatic extremes in the British Isles

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

This focus article is concerned with long‐term changes in hydroclimatic extremes across the British Isles. The combination of short records, poor data quality, nonstationarity, and other methodological constraints is a major obstacle to the attribution of change. Given the interaction of drivers, notably hydroclimate and land use, linking cause and effect can be difficult, especially where records are short. This focus article emphasizes the particular value of long hydrological records in seeking to understand the scale of change currently affecting British and Irish river basins. Homogeneous records of precipitation and river flow are used to explore long‐term changes and to establish linkage with large‐scale atmospheric drivers. Using very long records allows subtle, underlying trends to be detected within noisy records; since most records of river flow are only a few decades long, very long precipitation records are used to provide a context and evidence of century‐scale monotonic trends. Analysis of flow extremes in the British Isles shows a clear linkage with indices of large‐scale atmospheric circulation; relatively simply indices of weather type and atmospheric circulation provide a good level of explanation. At the longest timescales, there has been important variation in precipitation: a monotonic increase in winter, not seen in summer where interdecadal variability is the dominant pattern. With one exception, significant trends in summer are negative, including in the uplands; this unexpected result deserves further consideration across the British Isles. WIREs Water 2016, 3:854–870. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1169 This article is categorized under: Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change Science of Water > Water Extremes
Decadal running means at Oxford for winter and summer, together with the winter to summer ratio expressed as a percentage.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual rainfall totals at Oxford from 1767, plus a decadal running mean.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Map of stations mentioned in the text.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Summer rainfall at Whitby since 1961 and summer river flow at Derwent Buttercrambe (NRFA 27041) since 1974.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual naturalized flow statistics for the River Thames at Kingston: (a) mean naturalized daily flow (mm); (b) number of days for which the mean naturalized daily flow exceeded the T10 threshold; (c) number of days for which the mean naturalized 10‐day flow exceeded the Q5 threshold; and (d) number of days for which the naturalized flow was below the Q95 threshold. All data for water years beginning October 1.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual gauged flow statistics for the River Thames at Kingston: (a) mean gauged daily flow (mm); (b) number of days for which the mean daily flow exceeded the T10 threshold; (c) number of days for which the mean 10‐day flow exceeded the Q5 threshold; and (d) number of days for which the gauged flow was below the Q95 threshold. All data for water years beginning October 1.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Decadal running means of river flow for the River Thames at Kingston (NRFA 39001) and annual runoff calculated using Oxford weather records.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Running totals of monthly rainfall at Poaka Beck: (a) 24‐month totals and (b) 60‐month totals.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Running totals of monthly rainfall at Oxford: (a) 24‐month totals and (b) 60‐month totals.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Summer rainfall totals at Poaka Beck, plus a decadal running mean.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual number of rain days (daily totals of at least 0.25 mm) at Oxford since 1827.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Related Articles

North American megadroughts in the Common Era: reconstructions and simulations (WIREs Climate Change)
Climate change in Argentina: trends, projections, impacts and adaptation (WIREs Climate Change)
On the importance of very long‐term water quality records

Browse by Topic

Science of Water > Water Extremes
Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts