, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 359-379

The Temporal Climatic Variability in the ‘Río De La Plata’ Basin Displayed by the River Discharges

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Abstract

Streamflows have a direct dependence on precipitation and these are directly linked to the climate. Then, in this paper the temporal climatic variability in the ‘Río de la Plata’ Basin is analysed through the changes in the river's discharges. These are the reflection of the climatic inputs areally integrated, and in consequence, contain more information on climate variability than that provided by the scarce punctual records of precipitation and temperature. The time series of streamflows correspond to monthly and annual means in stations selected in the basin for the period 1931–1992. However, in the present paper, the period 1901–1992 was considered in all cases whenever possible. The following changes and tendencies in the flow series were detected: 1. An important change of tendency between 1970 and 1972, and another not so significant before that date were detected in 1917–1918 and 1943–1944. 2. The jumps in the means in several sub-periods were detected using different methods. They showed jumps mainly in the period 1970–1972 in the annual streamflows series. The jumps in the annual streamflow series consist of an abrupt change in climatic variables affecting temporarily the averages of such variables during a certain period of time (years). The results are consistent with the conclusions obtained by other authors for the same region, both in precipitation and in the general circulation of the atmosphere. Keeping in mind this analysis of the series of streamflows, indicators of normal variability of tendencies relative to natural regional causes were detected, although the local causes were not anthropogenically analysed, and so no other manifestations of randomless in the zone of the Basin under study because of the lacking of data.