Long Term Trend Analysis of River Flow and Climate in Northern Canada

Mohamed Sherif Zaghloul, Ebrahim Ghaderpour, Hatef Dastour, Babak Farjad, Anil Gupta, Hyung Eum, Gopal Achari, Quazi K. Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in water resources within basins can significantly impact ecosystems, agriculture, and biodiversity, among others. Basins in northern Canada have a cold climate, and the recent changes in climate can have a profound impact on water resources in these basins. Therefore, it is crucial to study long term trends in water flow as well as their influential factors, such as temperature and precipitation. This study focused on analyzing long term trends in water flow across the Athabasca River Basin (ARB) and Peace River Basin (PRB). Long term trends in temperature and precipitation within these basins were also studied. Water flow data from 18 hydrometric stations provided by Water Survey of Canada were analyzed using the Mann-Kendall test and Sen’s slope. In addition, hybrid climate data provided by Alberta Environment and Parks at approximately 10 km spatial resolution were analyzed for the ARB and its surrounding regions during 1950–2019. Trend analysis was performed on the water flow data on monthly, seasonal, and annual scales, and the results were cross-checked with trends in temperature and precipitation and land use and land cover data. The overall temperature across the basins has been increasing since 1950, while precipitation showed an insignificant decrease during this period. Winter water flow in the upper ARB has been slowly and steadily increasing since 1956 because of the rising temperatures and the subsequent slow melting of snowpacks/glaciers. The warm season flows in the middle and lower subregions declined up to 1981, then started to show an increasing trend. The middle and lower ARB exhibited a rapid increase in warm-season water flow since 2015. A similar trend change was also observed in the PRB. The gradual increase in water flow observed in the recent decades may continue by the mid-century, which is beneficial for agriculture, forestry, fishery, and industry. However, climate and land cover changes may alter the trend of water flow in the future; therefore, it is important to have a proper management plan for water usage in the next decades.

Original languageEnglish
Article number197
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • land cover
  • land use
  • precipitation
  • temperature
  • trend analysis
  • water flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Long Term Trend Analysis of River Flow and Climate in Northern Canada'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this