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Environ Monit Assess. 2010 Jun;165(1-4):217-31. doi: 10.1007/s10661-009-0940-7. Epub 2009 May 12.

Roadmap for assessing regional trends in groundwater quality.

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  • 1Department of Computer and Information Science, Link√∂ping University, Link√∂ping, Sweden.


Assessing regional trends in groundwater quality can be a difficult task. Data are often scattered in space and time, and the inertia of groundwater systems can create natural, seemingly persistent changes in concentration that are difficult to separate from anthropogenic trends. Here, we show how statistical methods and software for joint analysis of multiple time series can be integrated into a roadmap for trend analysis and critical examination of data quality. Ordinary and partial Mann-Kendall (MK) tests for monotonic trends and semiparametric smoothers for multiple time series constitute the cornerstones of our procedure. The MK tests include a simple and easily implemented method to correct for serial dependence, and the associated software is designed to enable convenient handling of numerous data series and to accommodate covariates and nondetects. The semiparametric smoothers are intended to facilitate detection of synchronous changes in a network of stations. A study of Swedish groundwater quality data revealed true upward trends in acid-neutralizing capacity and downward trends in sulfate but also a misleading shift in alkalinity level that would have been difficult to detect if the time series had been analyzed separately.

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