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Variations in River Discharge

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Introduction

Variations in River Discharge River Regime This is the annual pattern of a river's discharge in response to the region's climate. The average regime is represented by the average daily/ monthly figures. These figures are mainly determined by the climate e.g. the amount/ distribution of rainfall, plus the rates of evaporation and snowmelt. Variations in River Discharge These variations are very important, as they influence the river's energy and landforms. Factors affecting river discharge may produce the following: Temporal variations (changes over time): * Short term fluctuations in discharge e.g. ...read more.

Middle

The discharge is affected by the climate of the region and many other factors. Temporal Variations Rivers have seasonal fluctuations in their discharge. They are mist pronounced in climates with a wet and dry season e.g. countries with Mediterranean/ monsoon climate and where glaciers feed streams. In Britain there is a maximum winter discharge and a minimum summer discharge which reflect low precipitation totals and high rates of evapotranspiration in the summer. Short term fluctuations of channel discharge are related to individual rainstorms or snowmelt. Spatial Variations Due to the interplay of a variety of factors especially climate and vegetation there are big differences in river regimes for different regions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Channel runoff is short-lived (as flash floods) after heavy rainstorms and covers short distances as it quickly infiltrates the sandy soil. Tundra Regions -North Canada and Russia - Annual precipitation is similar to hot deserts (250mm p/a) and most discharge is intense runoff in the early summer as the inter snow is melting. Discharge is high as the temperatures are low at this time and evapotranspiration is minimal as there is so little vegetation. Some areas have permanently frozen ground (permafrost) which restricts infiltration. There are shot term fluctuations diurnally. Discharges are low overnight and early morning as little melting takes place then. Discharges increase through the day as the ice melts and it peaks in the mid afternoon. ...read more.

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