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Multi-Proxy, Multi-Season Streamflow Reconstruction With Mass Balance Adjustment

Nguyen, Hung T. T.; Galelli, Stefano; Xu, Chenxi; Buckley, Brendan M.

Despite having offered important hydroclimatic insights, streamflow reconstructions still see limited use in water resources operations, because annual reconstructions are not suitable for decisions at finer time scales. The few attempts toward sub-annual reconstructions have relied on statistical disaggregation, which uses none or little proxy information. Here, we develop a novel framework that optimizes proxy combinations to simultaneously produce seasonal and annual reconstructions. Importantly, the framework ensures that total seasonal flow matches annual flow closely. This mass balance criterion is necessary to avoid misguiding water management decisions, such as the allocation of water rights or dam release decisions. Using the framework, and leveraging a multi-species network of ring width and cellulose 𝜹¹⁸O in Southeast Asia, we reconstruct seasonal and annual inflow to Thailand's largest reservoir. The reconstructions are statistically skillful. Furthermore, they preserve the mass balance well: the differences are mostly within 10% of the mean annual flow. As a result, the reconstructions provide more reliable estimates of the seasonal and annual surface water availability. This work is one step closer toward operational usability of streamflow reconstruction in water resources management.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

Water Resources Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Tree Ring Lab
Published Here
August 30, 2021