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Classifying freshwater salinity regimes in central and western U.S. streams and rivers

March 21, 2023

Freshwater salinization of rivers is occurring across the globe because of nonpoint source loading of salts from anthropogenic activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and resource extraction that accelerate weathering and release salts. Multidecadal trends in river salinity are well characterized, yet our understanding of annual regimes of salinity in rivers draining diverse central and western U.S. landscapes and their associated catchment attributes is limited. We classified annual salinity regimes in 242 stream locations through dynamic time warping and fuzzy c-medoids clustering of salinity time series. We found two dominant regimes in salinity characterized by an annual summer–fall peak or spring decline. Using random forest regression, we found that precipitation amount, stream slope, and soil salinity were the most important predictors of salinity regime classification. Advancing our understanding of salinity regimes in rivers will improve our ability to predict and mitigate the effects of salinization in freshwater ecosystems through management interventions.

Publication Year 2023
Title Classifying freshwater salinity regimes in central and western U.S. streams and rivers
DOI 10.1002/lol2.10251
Authors Lauren Bolotin, Betsy Summers, Philip R. Savoy, Joanna Blaszczak
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Index ID 70241605
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Earth System Processes Division