Documenting how ground- and surface water systems respond to climate change is crucial to understanding water resources, particularly in the U.S. Great Lakes region, where drastic temperature and precipitation changes are observed. This study presents baseflow and baseflow index (BFI) trend analyses for 10 undisturbed watersheds in Michigan using (1) multi-objective optimization (MOO) and (2) modified Mann–Kendall (MK) tests corrected for short-term autocorrelation (STA). Results indicate a variability in mean baseflow (0.09–8.70 m3
/s) and BFI (67.9–89.7%) that complicates regional-scale extrapolations of groundwater recharge. Long-term (>60 years) MK trend tests indicate a significant control of total precipitation (P) and snow- to rainfall transitions on baseflow and BFI. In the Lower Peninsula Rifle River watershed, increasing P and a transition from snow- to rainfall has increased baseflow at a lower rate than streamflow; an overall pattern that may contribute to documented flood frequency increases. In the Upper Peninsula Ford River watershed, decreasing P and a transition from rain- to snowfall had no significant effects on baseflow and BFI. Our results highlight the value of an objectively constrained BFI parameter for shorter-term (<50 years) hydrologic trend analysis because of a lower STA susceptibility.
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