Climate and basin drivers of seasonal river water temperature dynamics
C. L. R. Laizé1,2, C. Bruna Meredith2,a, M. Dunbar1,b, and D. M. Hannah21Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK 2School of Geography, Earth, & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK anow at: Scottish Environment Protection Agency, UK bnow at: Environmental Agency, UK
Received: 13 Apr 2016 – Accepted for review: 10 Jun 2016 – Discussion started: 14 Jun 2016
Abstract. Stream water temperature is a key control of many river processes (e.g. ecology, biogeochemistry, hydraulics) and services (e.g. power plant cooling, recreational use). Consequently, the effect of climate change and variability on stream temperature is a major scientific and practical concern. This paper aimed (1) to improve the understanding of large-scale spatial and temporal variability in climate–water temperature associations, and (2) to assess explicitly the influence of basin properties as modifiers of these relationships. A dataset was assembled including six distinct modelled climatic variables (air temperature, downward shortwave and longwave radiation, wind speed, specific humidity, and precipitation) and observed stream temperatures for the period 1984–2007 at 35 sites located on 21 rivers within 16 basins (Great Britain geographical extent); the study focused on broad spatio-temporal patterns hence was based on three-month averaged data (i.e. seasonal). A wide range of basin properties was derived. Five models were fitted (all seasons, winter, spring, summer, and autumn). Both site and national spatial scales were investigated at once by using multi-level modelling with linear multiple regressions. Model selection used Multi-Model Inference, which provides more robust models, based on sets of good models, rather than a single best model. Broad climate-water temperature associations common to all sites were obtained from the analysis of the fixed coefficients, while site-specific responses, i.e. random coefficients, were assessed against basin properties with ANOVA. All six climate predictors investigated play a role as a control of water temperature. Air temperature and shortwave radiation are important for all models/seasons, while the other predictors are important for some models/seasons only. The form and strength of the climate-stream temperature association vary depending on season and on water temperature. The dominating climate drivers and physical processes may change across seasons, and across the stream temperature range. The role of basin permeability, size, and elevation as modifiers of the climate-water temperature associations was confirmed; permeability has the primary influence, followed by size and elevation. Smaller, upland, and/or impermeable basins are the most influenced by atmospheric heat exchanges, while larger, lowland and permeable basins are least influenced. The study showed the importance of accounting properly for the spatial and temporal variability of climate-stream temperature associations and their modification by basin properties.
Laizé, C. L. R., Meredith, C. B., Dunbar, M., and Hannah, D. M.: Climate and basin drivers of seasonal river water temperature dynamics, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-171, in review, 2016.
C. L. R. Laizé et al.
C. L. R. Laizé et al.
Water temperatures for the period 1984 to 2007 at 35 sites on 21 UK rivers