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Keywords:

  • climate variability/change;
  • precipitation;
  • streamflow;
  • time series analysis;
  • watershed management

Abstract:  Repeated severe droughts over the last decade in the South Atlantic have raised concern that streamflow may be systematically decreasing, possibly due to climate variability. We examined the monthly and annual trends of streamflow, precipitation, and temperature in the South Atlantic for the time periods: 1934-2005, 1934-1969, and 1970-2005. Streamflow and climate (temperature and precipitation) trends transitioned ca. 1970. From 1934 to 1969, streamflow and precipitation increased in southern regions and decreased in northern regions; temperature decreased throughout the South Atlantic. From 1970 to 2005, streamflow decreased, precipitation decreased, and temperature increased throughout the South Atlantic. It is unclear whether these will be continuing trends or simply part of a long-term climatic oscillation. Whether these streamflow trends have been driven by climatic or anthropogenic changes, water resources management faces challenging prospects to adapt to decadal-scale persistently wet and dry hydrologic conditions.