Changes in Latvian river discharge regime at the turn of the century

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The study deals with turn-of-the-century changes in the total annual river runoff distribution and high and low flows in Latvia, covering river basins within four hydrological districts which vary according to size and physiographical conditions. Mathematical statistical methods were applied in the analysis of river discharge data series for two study periods of 1951–2009 and 1881–2009. The present results confirm the basic statement concerning the Baltic countries that major significant changes in river runoff during the last two decades have occurred between spring (decrease) and winter (increase) seasons. Mostly insignificant changes in summer runoff and significant/insignificant changes in autumn runoff were found. Analysis shows that a statistically significant trend of increase in low flow for the cold period and a significant trend of decrease in the high discharge and coefficient d of uneven runoff distribution were detected. Changes in river hydrological regime are mainly caused by changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation processes following climate warming, which has taken place. Latvian river hydrography has therefore changed and become more similar to Western European rivers.

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