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Title (Primary) A global approach to assess the potential impact of climate change on stream water temperatures and related in-stream first-order decay rates
Author Punzet, M.; Voß, F.; Voß, A.; Kynast, E.; Bärlund, I.;
Journal Journal of Hydrometeorology
Year 2012
Department ASAM;
Volume 13
Issue 3
Language englisch;
Keywords climate change

Stream water temperature is an important factor used in water quality modeling. To estimate monthly stream temperature on a global scale, a simple nonlinear regression model was developed. It was applied to stream temperatures recorded over a 36-yr period (1965–2001) at 1659 globally distributed gauging stations. Representative monthly air temperatures were obtained from the nearest grid cell included in the new global meteorological forcing dataset—the Water and Global Change (WATCH) Forcing Data. The regression model reproduced monthly stream temperatures with an efficiency of fit of 0.87. In addition, the regression model was applied for different climate zones (polar, snow, warm temperate arid, and equatorial climates) based on the Köppen–Geiger climate classification. For snow, warm temperate, and arid climates the efficiency of fit was larger than 0.82 including more than 1504 stations (90% of all records used). Analyses of heat-storage effects (seasonal hysteresis) did not show noticeable differences between the warming/cooling and global regression curves, respectively. The maximum difference between both limbs of the hysteresis curves was 1.6°C and thus neglected in the further analysis of the study. For validation purposes time series of stream temperatures for five individual river basins were computed applying the global regression equation. The accuracy of the global regression equation could be confirmed. About 77% of the predicted values differed by 3°C or less from measured stream temperatures. To examine the impact of climate change on stream water temperatures, gridded global monthly stream temperatures for the climate normal period (1961–90) were calculated as well as stream temperatures for the A2 and B1 climate change emission scenarios for the 2050s (2041–70). On average, there will be an increase of 1°–4°C in monthly stream temperature under the two climate scenarios. It was also found that in the months December, January, and February a noticeable warming predominantly occurs along the equatorial zone, while during the months June, July, and August large-scale or large increases can be observed in the northern and southern temperate zones. Consequently, projections of decay rates show a similar seasonal and spatial pattern as the corresponding stream temperatures. A regional increase up to ~25% could be observed. Thus, to ensure sufficient water quality for human purposes, but also for freshwater ecosystems, sustainable management strategies are required.

ID 12649
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Punzet, M., Voß, F., Voß, A., Kynast, E., Bärlund, I. (2012):
A global approach to assess the potential impact of climate change on stream water temperatures and related in-stream first-order decay rates
J. Hydrometeorol. 13 (3), 1052 - 1065