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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-385
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-385
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Jul 2018

Research article | 17 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Climate or land cover variations: what is driving observed changes in river peak flows? A data-based attribution study

Jan De Niel and Patrick Willems Jan De Niel and Patrick Willems
  • Hydraulics Section, Department of Civil Engineering, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 40, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Abstract. Climate change and land cover changes are influencing the hydrological regime of our rivers. The intensification of the hydrological cycle caused by climate change is projected to cause more flooding in winters and an increased urbanization could amplify these effects by a quicker runoff on paved surfaces. The relative importance of both drivers, however, is still uncertain and interaction effects between both drivers are not yet well understood.

In order to better understand the hydrological impact of climate variability and land cover changes, including their interaction effects, we fitted a statistical model to historical data over 3 decades for 29 catchments in Flanders, covering various catchment characteristics. It was found that the catchment characteristics explain up to 18% of changes in river peak flows, climate variability 6% and land cover changes 8%. Interaction terms explain up to 32%. An increase in urban area of +1% might cause increases in river peak flows up to +5%.

Jan De Niel and Patrick Willems
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Jan De Niel and Patrick Willems
Jan De Niel and Patrick Willems
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