Data-driven regionalization of river discharges and emergent land cover-evapotranspiration relationships across Sweden

Ype Van Der Velde*, Steve W. Lyon, Georgia Destouni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


[1] Changes in river discharge and river water quality, due to climate change and other drivers such as land cover change, pose both societal and ecosystem threats. Analyses of measured terrestrial river fluxes are key for identifying the drivers and quantifying the magnitudes of such riverine changes. In this paper, we develop and apply a data-driven regionalization approach using the dense network of discharge measurements in Sweden. The developed regionalization approach facilitates detailed mapping of discharges (Q) and change trends in Q across Sweden. Combining these with estimates of precipitation (P) and change trends in P, we estimated actual evapotranspiration (AET) and change trends in AET via catchment-scale water balance constraints. We identified characteristic land cover-evapotranspiration relationships by plotting water use efficiency (AET/P) against energy use efficiency (AET/potential ET) for areas with unique land cover across Sweden. Our results show that wetlands have clearly lower water and energy use efficiencies compared to open waters, forests, and agriculture, and that agriculture has water and energy use efficiencies closest to those of open waters. We further compared the data-driven regionalization estimates of different water balance components with estimates of regional climate models (RCMs). The RCMs do not describe well the observed change trends in Sweden. In particular, for evapotranspiration, the observed change trends are not reproduced by any of the investigated 24 RCMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2576-2587
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2013


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