Climatic Change

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 359–379 | Cite as

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

  • Norberto O. García
  • Walter M. Vargas


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aceituno, P.: 1988, ‘On the Functioning of the Southern Oscillation in the South American Sector. Part I: Surface Climate’, Mon. Wea. Rev. 116, 505-524.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, O. D.: 1977, Time Series Analysis and Forecasting, Butterworths, p. 246.Google Scholar
  3. Buishand, T. A.: 1982, ‘Some Methods for Testing the Homogeneity of Rainfall Records’, J. Hydrol. 58, 11-27.Google Scholar
  4. Castañeda, M. E. and Barros, V. R.: 1994, ‘Las Tendencias de la Precipitación en el Cono Sur de América al Este de los Andes’, C.A.M., Buenos Aires, Meteorol ógica 19, 23-32.Google Scholar
  5. Chou, YaLun: 1977, Análisis Estadístico, Editorial Interamericana, Mexico, p. 808.Google Scholar
  6. Comisión Mixta Paraguayo-Brasile ña, Grupo de Estudio del Río Paraná: 1974, Estudio del Río Paraná: Informe Final, Factibilidad. Apéndice A: Hidrologíia y Meteorología, Pub. Ande-Electrobras, Asunción Río de Janeiro, p. 426.Google Scholar
  7. Conway, D. and Hulme, M.: 1995, ‘The Impacts of Climate Variability and Future Climate Change in the Nile Basin on Water Resources in Egypt’, Int. Water Resourc. Develop., accepted for publication.Google Scholar
  8. García, N. O., Storani, B. C., and Moyano, M. C.: 1992, ‘Estudio de las Fluctuaciones Climáticas a Través de Series Hidrológicas en Grandes Cuencas Hidrográficas’, Anales del I Congreso Iberoamericano de Meteorología, 1-9 October, Salamanca y Cáceres, España, pp. 487-491.Google Scholar
  9. García, N. O. and Vargas, W. M.: 1994, ‘Aná lisis de la Variabilidad Climática en la Cuenca del Plata a Través de sus Caudales’, Anales del II Congreso LatinoAmericano e Ibérico de Meteorología, 18-25 October, Belo Horizonte, Brasil.Google Scholar
  10. García, N. O. and Vargas, W. M.: 1996, ‘The Spatial Variability of the Runoff and Precipitation in the “Río de la Plata” Basin’, Hydrol. Sci. J. 43, 279-299.Google Scholar
  11. Hastenrath, S.: 1990, ‘Diagnostics and Prediction of Anomalous River Discharges in Northern South America’, J. Clim. 3, 1080-1096.Google Scholar
  12. Hirsch, R. M. and Slack, J. R.: 1984, ‘A Non-Parametric Trend Test for Seasonal Data with Serial Dependence’, Water Resourc. Res. 20, 727-732.Google Scholar
  13. Hoffmann, J. A. J.: 1975, Atlas Climático de América del Sur, Vol 1, Organización Meteorológica Mundial, UNESCO, Ginebra, Swizerland.Google Scholar
  14. Hulme, M.: 1996, ‘Recent Climatic Change in theWorld's Drylands’, Geophys. Res. Lett. 23, 61-64.Google Scholar
  15. Hurrel, J. W. and Van Loon, H.: 1994, ‘A Modulation of Atmospheric Annual Cycle in the Southern Hemisphere’, Tellus 46A, 325-338.Google Scholar
  16. Karl, T. R., Knight, R. W., Easterling, D. R., and Quayle, R. G.: 1996, ‘Indices of Climate Change for the United States’, Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 77, 279-292.Google Scholar
  17. Kothyari, U. C. and Singh, V. P.: 1996, ‘Rainfall and Temperature Trends in India’, Hydrol. Proc. 10, 357-372.Google Scholar
  18. Marengo, J. A.: 1995, ‘Variations and Change in South American Streamflows’, Clim. Change 31, 99-117.Google Scholar
  19. Mechoso, C. R. and Perez Iribarren, G.: 1992, ‘Streamflow in Southeastern South America and the Southern Oscillation’, J. Clim. 5, 1535-1539.Google Scholar
  20. Molion, L. C. B. and Moraes, J. C.: 1987, ‘Oscilac'o Sul e Descarga de Rios na América do Sul Tropical’, Rev. Bras. de Engennharia, Caderno dos Recursos Hídricos 5, 53-63.Google Scholar
  21. Motor Columbus y Asociados: 1979, Estudio de Crecidas rios Paraná y Paraguay, Vol I, Buenos Aires-Asunción, p. 425.Google Scholar
  22. Panofski, H. A. and Brier, G. W.: 1968, Some Applications of Statistics to Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, p. 273.Google Scholar
  23. Remenieras, G.: 1974, Tratado de Hidrología Aplicada, Editores Técnicos Asociados S.A., Barcelona, p. 515.Google Scholar
  24. Ropelewski, C. and Halpert, M. S.: 1987, ‘Global and Regional Scale Precipitation Pattern Associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation’, Mon. Wea. Rev. 115, 1606-1626.Google Scholar
  25. Ropelewski, C. and Halpert, M. S.: 1989, ‘Precipitation Pattern Associated with the High Index Phase of the Southern Oscillation’, J. Clim. 2, 268-284.Google Scholar
  26. Sneyers, R.: 1975, Sur l'analyse statistique des séries d'observations, Technical Note No. 143, WMO, Geneve, p. 192.Google Scholar
  27. Silber, M. and Vanlesberg, S.: 1993, ‘Elaboración de Modelos de Pronóstico del Río Paraná’, in Anales del X Simposio Brasilero de Recursos Hídricos y I Simposio de Recursos Hídricos del Cono Sur, Gramado - R.S., Brasil, pp. 421-428.Google Scholar
  28. Trenberth, K. E.: 1990, ‘Recent Observed Interdecadal Climatic Changes in the Northern Hemisphere’, Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 71, 988-993.Google Scholar
  29. UNWMO: 1967, Assessment of the Magnitude of Flood Lows, United Nations, New York, p. 206.Google Scholar
  30. Van Loon, H., Kidson, J.W., and Mullan, A. B.: 1993, ‘Decadal Variation of the Annual Cycle in the Australian Dataset’, J. Clim. 6, 1227-1231.Google Scholar
  31. Vargas, W. M., Minetti J., and Poblet, A.: 1995, ‘Statistical Study of Climatic Jump in the Regional Zonal Circulation over South America’, J. Met. Soc. Japan 73(5), 1-8.Google Scholar
  32. WMO/o 178 TP 88: 1966, Statistical Analysis and Prognosis in Meteorology, Technical Note No 71, World Meteorological Organization, Geneve, p. 196.Google Scholar
  33. WMO/No 195 TP 100: 1966, Climatic Change, Technical Note Ko 79, World Meteorological Organization, Geneve, p. 77.Google Scholar
  34. WMO/TD-No 111: 1986, Guidelines on the Quality Control of Surface Climatological Data, World Meteorological Organization, Geneve, p. 35.Google Scholar
  35. WMO/TD-No 224: 1988, Analyzing Long Time Series of Hydrological Data with Respect to Climate Variability, World Meteorological Organization, Geneve, p. 176.Google Scholar
  36. Yevjevich, V.: 1972, Probability and Statistics in Hydrology, Water Resources Publications, Fort Collins, CO, p. 326.Google Scholar
  37. Yevjevich, V.: 1972, Stochastic Process in Hydrology, Water Resources Publications, Fort Collins, CO, p. 278.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norberto O. García
    • 1
  • Walter M. Vargas
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias HídricasUniversidad Nacional del LitoralSanta Fe – R.Argentina
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos Aires – CONICETBuenos Aires – R.Argentina

Personalised recommendations