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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Increasing non-linearity of the storage-discharge relationship insub-Arcticcatchments

Hinzman, Alexa M.; Sjoeberg, Ylva; Lyon, Steve W.; Ploum, Stefan W.; van der Velde, Ype


The Arctic is warming at an unprecedented rate. We hypothesis that as seasonally frozen soils thaw and recede in extent as a response to this warming, flow path diversity and thus hydrologic connectivity increases. This enhanced hydrologic connectivity then increases the non-linearity of the storage-discharge relationship in a catchment. The objective of this study is to test this hypothesis by quantifying trends and spatio-temporal differences in the degree of linearity in the storage-discharge relationships for 16 catchments within Northern Sweden from 1950 to 2018. We demonstrate a clear increase in non-linearity of the storage-discharge relationship over time for all catchments with 75% showing a statistically significant increase in non-linearity. Spring has significantly more linear storage-discharge relationships than summer for most catchments (75%) supporting the idea that seasonally frozen soils with a low degree of hydrological connectivity have a linear storage-discharge relationship. For the period considered, spring also showed greater change in storage-discharge relationship trends than summer signifying that changes in recessions are primarily occurring during the thawing period. Separate storage-discharge analyses combined with preceding winter conditions demonstrated that especially cold winters with little snow yielded springs and summers with more linear storage-discharge relationships. We show that streamflow recession analysis reflects ongoing hydrological change of an arctic landscape as well as offering new metrics for tracking change across arctic and sub-arctic landscapes.


arctic hydrology; recession analysis; seasonally frozen soil; storage-discharge; thaw

Published in

Hydrological Processes
2020, volume: 34, number: 19, pages: 3894-3909
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Hinzman, Alexa M.
Vrije Univ Amsterdam
Sjoeberg, Ylva
Univ Copenhagen
Lyon, Steve W.
Ohio State Univ
Ploum, Stefan (Ploum, Stefan W)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
van der Velde, Ype
Vrije Univ Amsterdam

UKÄ Subject classification

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Climate Research

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