Homogeneity analysis of streamflow records in arid and semi-arid regions of northwestern Iran

Abstract

Homogeneity analysis of the streamflow time series is essential to hydrological modeling, water resources management and climate change studies. In this study, five absolute homogeneity tests and one clustering approach were used to determine the homogeneity status of the streamflow time series (over the period 1960–2010) in 14 hydrometric stations of three important basins (i.e., Aras River Basin, Urmia Lake Basin and Sefid-Roud Basin) in northwestern Iran. Results of the Buishand range test, von Neumann ratio test, cumulative deviation test, standard normal homogeneity test and Pettitt test for monthly streamflow time series detected that about 42.26%, 38.09%, 33.33%, 39.28% and 68.45% of the streamflow time series were inhomogeneous at the 0.01 significance level, respectively. Streamflow time series of the stations located in the eastern parts of the study area or within the Urmia Lake Basin were mostly homogeneous. In contrast, streamflow time series in the stations of the Aras River Basin and Sefied-Roud Basin showed inhomogeneity at annual scales. Based on the overall classification for the monthly and annual streamflow series, we determined that about 45.60%, 11.53% and 42.85% of the time series were categorized into the ‘useful’, ‘doubtful’ and ‘suspect’ classes according to the five absolute homogeneity tests. We also found the homogeneity patterns of the streamflow time series by using the clustering approach. The results suggested the effectiveness of the clustering approach for homogeneity analysis of the streamflow time series in addition to the absolute homogeneity tests. Moreover, results of the absolute homogeneity tests and clustering approach indicated obvious decreasing change points of the streamflow time series in the 1990s over the three basins, which were mostly related to the hydrological droughts.

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Correspondence to Arash Malekian.

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Kazemzadeh, M., Malekian, A. Homogeneity analysis of streamflow records in arid and semi-arid regions of northwestern Iran. J. Arid Land 10, 493–506 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-018-0064-4

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Keywords

  • streamflow time series
  • homogeneity test
  • clustering analysis
  • inhomogeneity
  • Urmia Lake
  • northwestern Iran