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Water Runoff from Europe's Upper Rhine River Basin
Hanggi, P. and Weingartner, R. 2011. Inter-annual variability of runoff and climate within the Upper Rhine River basin, 1808-2007. Hydrological Sciences Journal 56: 34-50.

What was done
The authors write that the gauging station of the Rhine River at Basel, Switzerland, "has an outstanding hydrological time series which dates back to 1808," describing it as "the longest known, uninterrupted hydrological data set in Central Europe," citing Pfister et al. (2006); and they say that "Schadler and Weingartner (2007) used these data and calculated the components of the water balance for the Swiss part of the catchment on an annual time scale for the period 1901-2000," finding that "mean annual runoff was quite stable and did not change significantly during the 20th century." Thus, they decided to analyze the gauging station's entire two-century database, which covers the period from 1808 to 2007, during which time the planet transited from the frigid depth of the Little Ice Age to the peak heat of the Current Warm Period.

What was learned
Hanggi and Weingartner report that winter and spring runoff, precipitation and air temperature "have increased considerably," but they say that "runoff conditions of summer, autumn and the whole year did not vary considerably during the past 200 years," noting that "the pronounced changes in the amounts of areal precipitation and especially in air temperature were therefore not able to alter the hydrological system within these seasons." This finding is truly amazing, in light of the facts that (1) temperatures experienced during the Little Ice Age were some of the coldest of the entire Holocene or current interglacial, and that (2) the world's climate alarmists contend that recent temperatures have been the warmest of the past millennium or two. Thus, it is no surprise that ...

What it means
... with respect to the primary implication of their results, the two Institute of Geography and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research scientists (of the University of Bern, Switzerland) conclude that, for the future, "annual amounts of runoff will not change much for the Upper Rhine River, and will remain within the same range as observed during the last two centuries."

Pfister, C., Weingartner, R. and Luterbacher, J. 2006. Hydrological winter droughts over the last 450 years in the Upper Rhine basin: a methodological approach. Hydrological Sciences Journal 51: 966-985.

Schadler, B. and Weingartner, R. 2007. Impact of 20th century climate change on water resources in mountainous regions of Switzerland. In: Heinonen, M. (Ed.). Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Climate and Water, pp. 411-416.

Reviewed 31 August 2011