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01.11.2012 | Ausgabe 14/2012

Water Resources Management 14/2012

Modifiers and Amplifiers of High and low Flows on the Ping River in Northern Thailand (1921–2009): The Roles of Climatic Events and Anthropogenic Activity

Zeitschrift:
Water Resources Management > Ausgabe 14/2012
Autoren:
Han She Lim, Kanokporn Boochabun, Alan D. Ziegler

Abstract

We analyse an 89-year streamflow record (1921–2009) from the Upper Ping River in northern Thailand to determine if anomalous flows have increased over time (Trenberth, Clim Res 47:123–138, 1999; Trenberth, Clim Chang 42:327–339, 2011). We also relate the temporal behavior of high and low flows to climatic phenomena and anthropogenic activities. Peak flows have not increased significantly since 1921. However, minimum flows showed a very significant downward trend over the study period (α = 0.01). Annual and wet season discharge show significant downward trends (α = 0.05). All flow variables appear to be more variable now than 90 years ago especially annual peak flows. Both annual peak and minimum flows are correlated with annual and wet season rainfall totals. Minimum flow is also sensitive to the length of the monsoon season and number of rainy days in the previous monsoon season. Peak flow activity is driven predominantly by climate phenomena, such as tropical storm activity and monsoon anomalies, but the relationship between peak flows and ENSO phenomena is unclear. In general, annual discharge variables did not correspond unequivocally with El Ninõ or La Ninã events. Minimum flows show a major decline from the mid-1950s in line with major anthropogenic changes in the catchment. The plausible intensification of the hydrological cycle that may accompany global warming is of concern because of the potential to affect tropical storm activity and monsoon anomalies, phenomena that are linked with very high flows in this river system. The obvious effect of human activities such as reservoir management on low flows calls for careful management to prevent droughts in the future.

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