Trends in the GloFAS-ERA5 river discharge reanalysis

TitleTrends in the GloFAS-ERA5 river discharge reanalysis
Publication TypeTechnical memorandum
Date Published09/2020
Secondary TitleECMWF Technical Memoranda
AuthorsZsótér, E,, HLCloke, Prudhomme, C, Harrigan, S, de Rosnay, P, Munoz-Sabater, J, Stephens, E

The main objective of this study is to analyse the GloFAS-ERA5 river discharge reanalysis for any noticeable change (including gradual trends or discontinuities) in the annual mean time series across the 1979-2018 (40-year) period, and to evaluate how realistic these are compared with available observed river discharge time series.

These variabilities are quantified by linear regression in order to highlight any concerning features in the GloFAS-ERA5 time series.

This work is particularly important for GloFAS, as large trends, discontinuities or other similar features could have a major consequence on the GloFAS flood thresholds in around 50% of catchments, which are based on GloFAS-ERA5, and thus subsequently on the issuing of flood warnings.

In addition, this study also contributes to the understanding of the water cycle variable behaviour in ERA5 (driver of GloFAS-ERA5) and ERA5-Land (higher resolution land reanalysis forced by ERA5, produced offline) by exploring the linear trends in river discharge and related hydrological variables. In exploring the stability of the time series in ERA5, we seek to trigger potential further discussions and research studies, which subsequently should help with the planning and development for the next generation ECMWF reanalysis, ERA6.

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