A Classification of Stream Water Temperature Regimes in the Conterminous USA

A. Maheu, N. L. Poff, A. St-Hilaire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Temporal variability in water temperature plays an important role in aquatic ecosystems, yet the thermal regime of streams has mainly been described in terms of mean or extreme conditions. In this study, annual and diel variability in stream water temperature was described at 135 unregulated, gauged streams across the USA. Based on magnitude, amplitude and timing characteristics of daily water temperature records ranging from 5 to 33 years, we classified thermal regimes into six distinct types. This classification underlined the importance of including characteristics of variability (amplitude and timing) in addition to aspects of magnitude to discriminate thermal regimes at the continental scale. We used a classification tree to predict thermal regime membership of the six classes and found that the annual mean and range in the long-term air temperature average along with spring flows were important variables defining the thermal regime types at the continental scale. This research provides a framework for a comprehensive characterization of the thermal regimes of streams that could provide a basis for future assessment of changes in water temperature caused by anthropogenic activities such as dams, land use changes and climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-906
Number of pages11
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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thermal regime
water temperature
Water
Temperature
Aquatic ecosystems
Land use
Climate change
aquatic ecosystem
Dams
land use change
Hot Temperature
human activity
air temperature
dam
climate change
Air

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Maheu, A. ; Poff, N. L. ; St-Hilaire, A. / A Classification of Stream Water Temperature Regimes in the Conterminous USA. In: River Research and Applications. 2016 ; Vol. 32, No. 5. pp. 896-906.
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A Classification of Stream Water Temperature Regimes in the Conterminous USA. / Maheu, A.; Poff, N. L.; St-Hilaire, A.

In: River Research and Applications, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2016, p. 896-906.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - A Classification of Stream Water Temperature Regimes in the Conterminous USA

AU - Maheu, A.

AU - Poff, N. L.

AU - St-Hilaire, A.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Temporal variability in water temperature plays an important role in aquatic ecosystems, yet the thermal regime of streams has mainly been described in terms of mean or extreme conditions. In this study, annual and diel variability in stream water temperature was described at 135 unregulated, gauged streams across the USA. Based on magnitude, amplitude and timing characteristics of daily water temperature records ranging from 5 to 33 years, we classified thermal regimes into six distinct types. This classification underlined the importance of including characteristics of variability (amplitude and timing) in addition to aspects of magnitude to discriminate thermal regimes at the continental scale. We used a classification tree to predict thermal regime membership of the six classes and found that the annual mean and range in the long-term air temperature average along with spring flows were important variables defining the thermal regime types at the continental scale. This research provides a framework for a comprehensive characterization of the thermal regimes of streams that could provide a basis for future assessment of changes in water temperature caused by anthropogenic activities such as dams, land use changes and climate change.

AB - Temporal variability in water temperature plays an important role in aquatic ecosystems, yet the thermal regime of streams has mainly been described in terms of mean or extreme conditions. In this study, annual and diel variability in stream water temperature was described at 135 unregulated, gauged streams across the USA. Based on magnitude, amplitude and timing characteristics of daily water temperature records ranging from 5 to 33 years, we classified thermal regimes into six distinct types. This classification underlined the importance of including characteristics of variability (amplitude and timing) in addition to aspects of magnitude to discriminate thermal regimes at the continental scale. We used a classification tree to predict thermal regime membership of the six classes and found that the annual mean and range in the long-term air temperature average along with spring flows were important variables defining the thermal regime types at the continental scale. This research provides a framework for a comprehensive characterization of the thermal regimes of streams that could provide a basis for future assessment of changes in water temperature caused by anthropogenic activities such as dams, land use changes and climate change.

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KW - Fourier series

KW - stream

KW - thermal regime

KW - variability

KW - water temperature

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