University of Oulu

Mohsen Maghrebi, Roohollah Noori, Ali Danandeh Mehr, Raziyeh Lak, Farzaneh Darougheh, Rahman Razmgir, Hossein Farnoush, Hamid Taherpour, Seyed Mohammad Reza Alavai Moghaddam, Alireza Araghi, Bjørn Kløve; Spatiotemporal changes in Iranian rivers’ discharge. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 5 January 2023; 11 (1): 00002. doi:

Spatiotemporal changes in Iranian rivers’ discharge

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Author: Maghrebi, Mohsen1; Noori, Roohollah2,3; Mehr, Ali Danandeh4;
Organizations: 1Research Institute for Earth Sciences, Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran, Iran
2Graduate Faculty of Environment, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
3Faculty of Governance, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
4Department of Civil Engineering, Antalya Bilim University, Antalya, Turkey
5Department of Agriculture Engineering, Ferdows Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ferdows, Iran
6College of Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
7Department of Agricultural Economics, Agriculture Faculty, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
8Arid Environments Research Center, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran
9Department of Civil Engineering, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran
10Department of Water Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
11Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: University of California Press, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-14


Trends in river flow at national scale in Iran remain largely unclear, despite good coverage of river flow at multiple monitoring stations. To address this gap, this study explores the changes in Iranian rivers’ discharge using regression and analysis of variance methods to historically rich data measured at hydrometric stations. Our assessment is performed for 139 selected hydrometric stations located in Iranian data-rich basins that cover around 97% of the country’s rivers with more than 30 years of observations. Our findings show that most of the studied Iran’s rivers (>56%) have undergone a downward trend (P value < 0.1) in mean annual flow that is 2.5 times bigger than that obtained for the large world’s rivers, resulting in a change from permanent to intermittent for around 20% of rivers in Iran’s subbasins. Given no significant change observed in the main natural drivers of Iranian rivers’ discharge, these findings reveal the country’s surface fresh-water shortage was caused dominantly by anthropogenic disturbances rather than variability in climate parameters. It may even indicate the development of new river regimes with deep implications for future surface fresh-water storage in the country. This research’s findings improve our understanding of changes in Iranian rivers’ discharge and provide beneficial insights for sustainable management of water resources in the country.

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Series: Elementa
ISSN: 2325-1026
ISSN-E: 2325-1026
ISSN-L: 2325-1026
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
Article number: 00002
DOI: 10.1525/elementa.2022.00002
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See