Detection of regional climate change effects on alpine hydrology by daily resolution trend analysis in Tyrol, Austria

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Owing to average temperature increases of at least twice the global mean, climate change is expected to have strong impacts on local hydrology and climatology in the Alps. Nevertheless, trend analyses of hydro-climatic station data rarely reveal clear patterns concerning climate change signals except in temperature observations. However, trend research has thus far mostly been based on analysing trends of averaged data such as yearly, seasonal or monthly averages and has therefore often not been able to detect the finer temporal dynamics. For this reason, we derived 30-day moving average trends, providing a daily resolution of the timing and magnitude of trends within the seasons. Results are validated by including different time periods. We studied daily observations of mean temperature, liquid and solid precipitation, snow height and runoff in the relatively dry central Alpine region in Tyrol, Austria. Our results indicate that the vast majority of changes are observed throughout spring to early summer, most likely triggered by the strong temperature increase during this season. Temperature, streamflow and snow trends have clearly amplified during recent decades. The overall results are consistent over the entire investigation area and different time periods.

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