One of the most important consequences of future climate change may be an alteration of the surface hydrological balance, including changes in flow regimes, i.e. seasonal distribution of flow and especially the time of occurrence of high/low flow, which is of vital importance for environmental and economic policies. Classification of flow regimes still has an important role for the analyses of hydrological response to climate change as well as for validating climate models on present climatic and hydrologic data, however, with some modifications in the methodology. In this paper an approach for flow regime classification is developed in this context. Different ways of flow regime classification are discussed. The stability of flow regimes is studied in relation to changes in mean annual temperature and precipitation. The analyses have shown that even rather small changes in these variables can cause changes in river flow regimes. Different patterns of response have been traced for different regions of the Nordic countries.

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