This study is a part of a Nordic co-operative research project, Climate and Energy, funded by Nordic Energy Research and the Nordic energy sector. The project has the objective of a comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change on Nordic renewable energy resources including hydropower, wind power, biofuels and solar energy. In this paper, the long term variability of precipitation, temperature and discharge of Icelandic rivers is analyzed with respect to trends. Trend is tested for two periods: 1941–2002, since the longest Icelandic discharge records reach 60 years back in time, and 1961–2000, so that a larger set of discharge records could be included, as only a few Icelandic discharge records extend more than 40 years back in time. An eventual trend in the time series is analyzed using the Mann–Kendall test. The test is applied to the time series of both annual and seasonal values, and also to the timing and volume of the maximum daily discharge in spring and autumn, respectively. The main conclusions from the study are that, despite significant increase in measured precipitation, discharge in non-glacial rivers has not increased. Meanwhile, spring temperatures have a negative trend and spring floods, therefore, are larger and delayed.

This content is only available as a PDF.