This paper presents characteristics of the discharge regime, long-term trends and variability in Finland. A selection of long-term discharge records including both unregulated and regulated rivers and lake outlets were analysed up to the year 2004. In addition to individual time series, monthly and annual discharges from the territory of Finland were calculated for the period 1912–2004. The observed drought and flood periods are also discussed, as well as the connection between discharge regime and climate. Moreover, the periodicity of the time series is examined for a couple of sites. The Mann–Kendall trend test was applied to assess changes in annual, monthly and seasonal mean discharges, maximum and minimum flows and, in addition, the date of the annual peak flow. The trend analysis revealed no changes in mean annual flow in general, but the seasonal distribution of streamflow has changed. Winter and spring mean monthly discharges have increased at most of the observation sites. The spring peak has moved to an earlier date at over one-third of the sites. However, the magnitudes of spring high flow have not changed. Autumn flow did not show trends in general. Minimum flows have increased at about half of the unregulated sites.
Keywords: discharge, Finland, rivers, runoff, time series, trends