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Spatial variations in the relationship between precipitation and streamflow in Great Britain

West, Harry; Quinn, Nevil; Horswell, Michael


Michael Horswell


Using the latest available hydro-meteorological datasets from the RCUK Droughts & Water Scarcity Programme, this paper aims to examine the relationship between precipitation and streamflow in 293 catchments across Great Britain (for the period Jan 1900 - Nov 2015). We use two common standardised indicators (SPI and SSI) and identify the SPI accumulation periods that are associated with noticeable variations in streamflow. In doing so we identify the role of local catchment characteristics in moderating hydrological event frequency and severity. Catchments with high BFI, and are therefore less flashy, have poor R2 values between SPI-1 and SSI-1, the shortest accumulation period. As the SPI accumulation period increases this pattern is reversed, with high BFI catchments showing the strongest relationships between SPI-6/-9 and SSI-1. As the streamflow accumulation period increases the linearity of relationships with SPI starts to decrease. We identify and map the variation in critical SPI accumulation periods for estimating SSI and explore the utility of using SPI in a predictive sense. Catchments with similar critical SPI accumulation periods do show clear spatial patterns. For example, catchments in the southern and eastern regions (characterised by high BFI) are most strongly related to longer SPI accumulation periods. The intention is that this predictive ability will provide water managers with a simple tool to aid effective decision making in extreme hydrological event management.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Jul 8, 2019
Publication Date Jul 10, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation West, H., Quinn, N., & Horswell, M. (2019, July). Spatial variations in the relationship between precipitation and streamflow in Great Britain. Paper presented at International Union of Geodesy & Geophysics General Assembly, Montreal, Canada
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : International Union of Geodesy & Geophysics General Assembly


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