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Keywords:

  • change detection;
  • statistical testing;
  • field significance;
  • regional consistency;
  • hydrological extremes;
  • France

[1] This paper describes regional methods for assessing field significance and regional consistency for trend detection in hydrological extremes. Four procedures for assessing field significance are compared on the basis of Monte Carlo simulations. Then three regional tests, based on a regional variable, on the regional average Mann-Kendall test, and a new semiparametric approach, are tested. The latter was found to be the most adequate to detect consistent changes within homogeneous hydro-climatic regions. Finally, these procedures are applied to France, using daily discharge data arising from 195 gauging stations. No generalized change was found at the national scale on the basis of the field significance assessment of at-site results. Hydro-climatic regions were then defined, and the semiparametric procedure applied. Most of the regions showed no consistent change, but three exceptions were found: in the northeast flood peaks were found to increase, in the Pyrenees high and low flows showed decreasing trends, and in the Alps, earlier snowmelt-related floods were detected, along with less severe drought and increasing runoff due to glacier melting. The trend affecting floods in the northeast was compared to changes in rainfall, using rainfall-runoff simulation. The results showed flood trends consistent with the observed rainfall.