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Hydrological regime of remote catchments with extreme gradients under accelerated change: the Baker basin in Patagonia

Hydrological regime of remote catchments with extreme gradients under accelerated change: the Baker basin in Patagonia

Dussaillant, Alejandro, Buytaert, Wouter, Meier, Claudio and Espinoza, Fabián (2012) Hydrological regime of remote catchments with extreme gradients under accelerated change: the Baker basin in Patagonia. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 57 (8). pp. 1530-1542. ISSN 0262-6667 (Print), 2150-3435 (Online) (doi:10.1080/02626667.2012.726993)

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Abstract

The Baker basin (27 000 km2) is located in one of the most pristine and remote areas of the planet. Its hydrological regime is poised to undergo dramatic changes in the near future due to hydropower development and climate change. The basin contains the second-largest lake in South America, and part of a major icefield. This study documents the natural baseline of the Baker River basin, discusses the main hydrological modes and analyses the potential for sustainable management. Annual precipitation varies several-fold from the eastern Patagonian steppes to the North Patagonian Icefield. The westernmost sub-basins are strongly governed by glacier melt with a peak discharge in the austral summer (January–March). The easternmost sub-basins have a much more seasonal response governed by quicker snowmelt in spring (November–December), while they exhibit low flows typical for semi-arid regions during summer and autumn. Topography, vegetation and wetlands may also influence streamflow. The strong spatio-temporal gradients and variability highlight the need for further monitoring, particularly in the headwaters, especially given the severe changes these basins are expected to undergo. The great diversity of hydrological controls and climate change pose significant challenges for hydrological prediction and management.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Attached to this record is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in HYDROLOGICAL SCIENCES JOURNAL on 10/10/2012, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02626667.2012.726993 [2] Hydrological Sciences Journal is the official journal of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS).
Uncontrolled Keywords: natural flow regime, catchment classification, runoff ratio, climate change, hydropower, prediction in ungauged basins, Baker River, Patagonia
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Engineering
School of Engineering > Department of Civil Engineering
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2016 00:03
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/9655

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