The assumption of uniform specific discharge: unsafe at any time?

Karlsen, R. H. and Seibert, J. and Grabs, T. and Laudon, H. and Blomkvist, P. and Bishop, K. (2016) The assumption of uniform specific discharge: unsafe at any time? Hydrological Processes. ISSN 1099-1085

[img] PDF
Karlsen et al. 2016.pdf
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB)
Official URL:


Nearby catchments in the same landscape are often assumed to have similar specific discharge (runoff per unit catchment area). Five years of streamflow from 14 nested catchments in a 68 km2 landscape was used to test this assumption, with the hypothesis that the spatial variability in specific discharge is smaller than the uncertainties in the measurement. The median spatial variability of specific discharge, defined as subcatchment deviation from the catchment outlet, was 33% at the daily scale. This declined to 24% at a monthly scale and 19% at an annual scale. These specific discharge differences are on the same order of magnitude as predicted for major land-use conversions or a century of climate change. Spatial variability remained when considering uncertainties in specific discharge, and systematic seasonal patterns in specific discharge variation further provide confidence that these differences are more than just errors in the analysis of catchment area, rainfall variability or gauging. Assuming similar specific discharge in nearby catchments can thus lead to spurious conclusions about the effects of disturbance on hydrological and biogeochemical processes. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Future Forest Subject: Skogsbruk i klimatförändringens tid > Natur
Skogsbruk i skärningspunkten mellan dåtid och nutid > Framtidsstudier
Skogsbruk i skärningspunkten mellan dåtid och nutid > Kvantitativa studier
Depositing User: Christer Enkvist
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 14:26
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2017 14:26

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item