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Ambio. 2003 Jun;32(4):283-6.

Assessing the effect of climate oscillations and land-use changes on streamflow in the central Spanish Pyrenees.

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  • 1Department of Soil Erosion and Land-Use Changes, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology, Zaragoza, Spain.


Plans to increase the amount of irrigated land in Mediterranean countries should consider how changes in climate and land-use affect water resources. In this study, both precipitation and temperature were used to analyze regional trends in discharge in the basins of the Central Spanish Pyrenees since the mid-20th century. Annual variations in the relationship between precipitation and discharge suggested that discharge was relatively lower in the second half of the study period, coinciding with major changes in land use. On a monthly scale, precipitation increased significantly in October, April, and July, and decreased in March, and temperature increased in January and February and decreased in April. Nevertheless, discharge has decreased significantly in most months in the past 50 years. Land-use and plant-cover changes are the only nonclimatic factor that can explain the loss of around 30% of the average annual discharge.

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