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Authors: Zampieri, M.* 
Scoccimarro, E.* 
Gualdi, S.* 
Navarra, A.* 
Title: Observed shift towards earlier spring discharge in the main Alpine rivers
Issue Date: 2015
Series/Report no.: /503-504 (2015)
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.036
Keywords: rivers
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.02. Climate 
Abstract: In this study, we analyse the observed long-term discharge time-series of the Rhine, the Danube, the Rhone and the Po rivers. These rivers are characterised by different seasonal cycles reflecting the diverse climates and morphologies of the Alpine basins. However, despite the intensive and varied water management adopted in the four basins, we found common features in the trend and low-frequency variability of the spring discharge timings. All the discharge time-series display a tendency towards earlier spring peaks of more than two weeks per century. These results can be explained in terms of snowmelt, total precipitation (i.e. the sum of snowfall and rainfall) and rainfall variability. The relative importance of these factors might be different in each basin. However, we show that the change of seasonality of total precipitation plays a major role in the earlier spring runoff over most of the Alps.
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