A step increase in streamflow in the conterminous United States



[1] Annual minimum, median, and maximum daily streamflow for 400 sites in the conterminous United States (U.S.), measured during 1941–1999, were examined to identify the temporal and spatial character of changes in streamflow statistics. Results indicate a noticeable increase in annual minimum and median daily streamflow around 1970, and a less significant mixed pattern of increases and decreases in annual maximum daily streamflow. These changes in annual streamflow statistics primarily occurred in the eastern U.S. In addition, the streamflow increases appear as a step change rather than as a gradual trend and coincide with an increase in precipitation.