Cold-regions Hydrological Indicators of Change (CHIC) for ecological flow needs assessment

<div><p></p><p>Ecological flow needs (EFN) frameworks incorporate a range of ecologically-relevant hydrological variables based on prior knowledge of river regime characteristics. However, when applied in cold regions, these approaches have largely ignored the influence of winter ice cover and the spring freshet on hydrological regimes: key components of river systems in cold regions with important direct effects on water quality, aquatic habitat and ecology. Here, we combine a review of the published literature on cold-regions hydrology and hydro-ecology with available hydrometric information for sites across Canada, a major cold-region country, to explore phenomena unique to these systems. We identify several ecologically-relevant hydrological measures (i.e. annual ice on/off dates, ice-cover duration, spring freshet initiation, peak water level during river ice break-up), pairing these with established metrics for incorporation into an enhanced suite of indicators specifically designed for cold regions. This paper presents the Cold-regions Hydrological Indicators of Change (CHIC), which can provide the basis for the assessment of EFN and climate change assessments in cold-region river ecosystems. </p><p></p><p><b>Editor</b> Z.W. Kundzewicz; <b>Guest editor</b> M. Acreman</p><p><b>Citation</b> Peters, D.L., Monk, W.A., and Baird, D.J., 2014. Cold-regions Hydrological Indicators of Change (CHIC) for ecological flow needs assessment. <i>Hydrological Sciences Journal</i>, 59 (3–4), 502–516.</p><p></p><p></p></div>