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Water 2017, 9(9), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9090684

Assessment of Hydrologic Alterations in Elbe and Rhine Rivers, Germany

Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
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Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 3 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract

In light of recent anthropogenic-induced climate change, a burning question at present is how these changes influence the water regime of rivers, which are of vital importance for humans as well as for biota. In this study, we investigate the changes in the hydrologic regime of two major German rivers, Elbe and Rhine, after the middle of the 20th century. Here, we use the widely adopted Range of Variability Approach (RVA) method on daily streamflow data from five (Elbe) and seven (Rhine) hydrological stations to determine the variability and spatial pattern of hydrologic alterations. We discuss the potential effect of climate change on the water regime of these two rivers, as well as other potential causes. For both rivers, we find that some hydrologic parameters are highly altered, especially the number of reversals, indicating higher variability. The highest impact is found at Ems hydrological station on Rhine River. The order of affected hydrological stations follows mostly the downstream course of both rivers. Our study indicates that the hydrological behavior of Elbe and Rhine Rivers has altered since the middle of the 20th century, a probable consequence of climate change. These hydrologic alterations can lead to undesirable ecological effects on local biota. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrologic alteration; range of variability approach; indicators of hydrologic alteration; climate change; Elbe River; Rhine River hydrologic alteration; range of variability approach; indicators of hydrologic alteration; climate change; Elbe River; Rhine River
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Pfeiffer, M.; Ionita, M. Assessment of Hydrologic Alterations in Elbe and Rhine Rivers, Germany. Water 2017, 9, 684.

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