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Journal Article

Trend detection in river flow indices in Poland


Piniewski,  Mikolaj
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Marcinkowski,  P.
External Organizations;


Kundzewicz,  Zbigniew W.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Piniewski, M., Marcinkowski, P., Kundzewicz, Z. W. (2018): Trend detection in river flow indices in Poland. - Acta Geophysica, 66, 3, 347-360.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_22256
The issue of trend detection in long time series of river flow records is of vast theoretical interest and considerable practical relevance. Water management is based on the assumption of stationarity; hence, it is crucial to check whether taking this assumption is justified. The objective of this study is to analyse long-term trends in selected river flow indices in small- and medium-sized catchments with relatively unmodified flow regime (semi-natural catchments) in Poland. The examined indices describe annual and seasonal average conditions as well as annual extreme conditions—low and high flows. The special focus is on the spatial analysis of trends, carried out on a comprehensive, representative data set of flow gauges. The present paper is timely, as no spatially comprehensive studies (i.e. covering the entire Poland or its large parts) on trend detection in time series of river flow have been done in the recent 15 years or so. The results suggest that there is a strong random component in the river flow process, the changes are weak and the spatial pattern is complex. Yet, the results of trend detection in different indices of river flow in Poland show that there exists a spatial divide that seems to hold quite generally for various indices (annual, seasonal, as well as low and high flow). Decreases of river flow dominate in the northern part of the country and increases usually in the southern part. Stations in the central part show mostly ‘no trend’ results. However, the spatial gradient is apparent only for the data for the period 1981–2016 rather than for 1956–2016. It seems also that the magnitude of increases of river flow is generally lower than that of decreases.