Assessment of Climate Driven Changes in Flow Series of Alpine Basin: A Case Study of Danube River Basin

A. N. Laghari, A. Rajper, G. D. Walasai, A. R. Jatoi, N. B. Jalbani, H. Soomro


This study was carried out in order to analyze the climate change driven influence on mean monthly flow series of Danube River and its tributaries during the last century. The study confirms some signs of climate driven alterations in monthly river flow series along with change in flow seasonality during the last century. In spite of this, man-made interference in the basin like i.e. groundwater extraction, irrigation, river regulation, land use alteration and urbanization, has significantly changed Danube flow regime in most areas of the catchment. The analysis of Achleiten station demonstrates that average annual flow regime is a little bit increased. Major increase is observed in winter and autumn months and decrease in summer months. These seasonal alterations clearly signal a future glimpse of reduced water availability in alpine basins. This will mainly occur due to the change in the form of precipitation in winter, from snow to rain and the consequent less snow accumulation, and the early melt of snow storage, less precipitation and high evaporation rate in summer.


climate change; man-made abstraction; seasonal flow regime; Alpine river

Full Text:



D. L. Hartmann, A. M. K. Tank, M. Rusticucci, L. V. Alexander, S. BrOnnimann, Y. A. R. Charabi, F. J. Dentener, E. J. Dlugokencky, D. R. Easterling, A. Kaplan, “Observations: Atmosphere and Surface”, in: Climate Change 2013 the Physical Science Basis: Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 2013

IPCC, The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland, 2007

R. Weingartner, D. Viviroli, B. Schadler, “Water resources in mountain regions: a methodological approach to assess the water balance in a highland‐lowland‐system”, Hydrological Processes, Vol. 21, No. 5, pp. 578-585, 2007

B. Messerli, D. Viviroli, R. Weingartner, “Mountains of the world: vulnerable water towers for the 21st century”, Ambio, Vol. 2004, pp. 29-34, 2004

D. Nogues-Bravo, M. B. Araujo, M. Errea, J. Martinez-Rica, “Exposure of global mountain systems to climate warming during the 21st Century”, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 17, No. 3-4, pp. 420-428, 2007

M. Beniston, “Impacts of climatic change on water and associated economic activities in the Swiss Alps”, Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 412-413, pp. 291-296, 2012

M. Beniston, “Is snow in the Alps receding or disappearing?”, WIREs: Climate Change, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 349-358, 2012

S. U. Islam, S. J. Dery, “Evaluating uncertainties in modelling the snow hydrology of the Fraser River Basin, British Columbia, Canada”, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 1827-1847, 2017

B. C. Bates, Z. Kundzewicz, S. Wu, Climate Change and Water, IPCC, Geneva, 2008

D. Vanham, E. Fleischhacker, W. Rauch, “Impact of an extreme dry and hot summer on water supply security in an alpine region”, Water Science and Technology, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 469-477, 2009

M. M. Elsner, L. Cuo, N. Voisin, J. S. Deems, A. F. Hamlet, J. A. Vano, K. E. Mickelson, S. Y. Lee, D. P. Lettenmaier, “Implications of 21st century climate change for the hydrology of Washington State”, Climatic Change, Vol. 102, No. 1-2, pp. 225-260, 2010

E. Kerkhoven, T. Y. Gan, “Differences and sensitivities in potential hydrologic impact of climate change to regional-scale Athabasca and Fraser River basins of the leeward and windward sides of the Canadian Rocky Mountains respectively”, Climatic Change, Vol. 106, No. 4, pp. 583-607, 2011

S. J. Dery, M. A. Hernandez-Henriquez, P. N. Owens, M. W. Parkes, E. L. Petticrew, “A century of hydrological variability and trends in the Fraser River Basin”, Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 024019-024028, 2012

F. Strauss, H. Formayer, E. Schmid, “High resolution climate data for Austria in the period 2008–2040 from a statistical climate change model”, International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 430-443, 2013

A. Laghari, D. Vanham, W. Rauch, “The Indus basin in the framework of current and future water resources management”, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 1063-1083, 2012

A. Laghari, D. Vanham, W. Rauch, “To what extent does climate change result in a shift in Alpine hydrology? A case study in the Austrian Alps”, Hydrological Sciences Journal, Vol. 57, No. 1, pp. 103-117

T. Kohler, A. Wehrli, M. Jurek, Mountains and Climate Chance: A Global Concern, CDE, SDC and Geographica Bernensia, 2014

D. H. Kang, H. Gao, X. Shi, S. ul Islam, S. J. Dery, “Impacts of a rapidly declining mountain snowpack on streamflow timing in Canada’s Fraser River basin”, Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, Article Number 19299, 2016

D. Viviroli, D. R. Archer, W. Buytaert, H. J. Fowler, G. Greenwood, A. F. Hamlet, Y. Huang, G. Koboltschnig, I. Litaor, J. I. Lopez-Moreno, “Climate change and mountain water resources: overview and recommendations for research, management and policy”, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 471-504, 2011

M. Beniston, M. Stoffel, “Assessing the impacts of climatic change on mountain water resources”, Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 493, pp. 1129-1137, 2014

Z. Kundzewicz, L. J. Mata, N. W. Arnell, P. Doll, B. Jimenez, K. Miller, T. Oki, Z. Sen, I. Shiklomanov, “The implications of projected climate change for freshwater resources and their management”, Hydrological Sciences Journal, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 3-10, 2008

K. Tockner, S. E. Bunn, C. Gordon, R. J. Naiman, G. P. Quinn, J. A. Stanford, “4 A Flood plains: critically threatened ecosystems”, in: Aquatic Ecosystems: Trends and Global Prospects, pp. 45-61, Cambridge University Press, 2008

eISSN: 1792-8036     pISSN: 2241-4487