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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-57
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-57
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 17 May 2019

Submitted as: data description paper | 17 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Paleo-hydrologic reconstruction of 400 years of past flows at a weekly time step for major rivers of Western Canada

Andrew R. Slaughter and Saman Razavi Andrew R. Slaughter and Saman Razavi
  • Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Abstract. The assumption of stationarity in water resources no longer holds, particularly within the context of future climate change. Plausible scenarios of flows that fluctuate outside the envelope of variability of the gauging data are required to assess the robustness of water resources systems to future conditions. This study presents a novel method of generating weekly-time-step flows based on tree-ring chronology data. Specifically, this method addresses two long-standing challenges with paleo-reconstruction: (1) the typically limited predictive power of tree-ring data at the annual and sub-annual scale, and (2) the inflated short-term persistence in tree-ring time series and improper use of prewhitening. Unlike the conventional approach, this method establishes relationships between tree-ring chronologies and naturalised flow at a biennial scale to preserve persistence properties and variability of hydrological time series. Biennial flow reconstructions are further disaggregated to weekly, according to the weekly flow distribution of reference two-year instrumental periods, identified as periods with broadly similar tree-ring properties to that of every two-year paleo-period. The Saskatchewan River Basin (SaskRB), a major river in Western Canada, is selected as a study area, and weekly flows in its four major tributaries are extended back to the year 1600. The study shows that the reconstructed flows properly preserve the statistical properties of the reference flows, particularly, short- to long-term persistence and the structure of variability across time scales. An ensemble approach is presented to represent the uncertainty inherent in the statistical relationships and disaggregation method. The ensemble of reconstructed weekly flows are publically available for download from https://doi.org/10.20383/101.0139 (Slaughter and Razavi, 2019).

Andrew R. Slaughter and Saman Razavi
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Andrew R. Slaughter and Saman Razavi
Data sets

An ensemble of 500 time series of weekly flows from 1600-2001 for the four sub-basins of the Saskatchewan River Basin generated through disaggregating tree-ring reconstructed flow [Dataset]. A. Slaughter and S. Razavi https://doi.org/10.20383/101.0139

Andrew R. Slaughter and Saman Razavi
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Latest update: 21 Aug 2019
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Short summary
Water management faces the challenge of non-stationarity in future flows. To extend flow datasets beyond the gauging data, this study presents a method of generating an ensemble of weekly flows from tree-ring reconstructed flows to represent uncertainty and that overcomes certain long-standing data challenges with paleo-reconstruction. An ensemble of 500 flow time series were generated for the four sub-basins of the Saskatchewan River Basin, Canada for the period 1600–2001.
Water management faces the challenge of non-stationarity in future flows. To extend flow...
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