Identification of Streamflow Changes across the Continental United States Using Variable Record Lengths

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The study focused on investigating the presence of change patterns in 600 unimpaired streamflow stations across the continental U.S. at different time intervals to understand the change patterns that can provide significant insight regarding climate variability and change. Each station had continuous streamflow data of at least 30 years (the entire dataset covered a range of 109 years). Presence of trends and shifts were detected in water year and the four seasons (fall, winter, spring, and summer) analyzing the water year and seasonal mean flows. Two non-parametric tests, namely, the Mann-Kendall test and the Pettitt’s test were used to identify the trends and the shifts, respectively. The results showed an increasing trend in the northeast and upper-mid regions, whereas southeast and northwest regions underwent a decrease. Shifts followed similar patterns as trends with higher number of stations with significant change. Fall and spring showed the highest number of stations with increasing and decreasing change, respectively, in the seasonal analyses. Results of this study may assist water managers to understand the streamflow change patterns across the continental U.S., especially at the regional scale since this study covers a long range of years with a large number of stations in each region

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