Streams and groundwater

The stream flow patterns in Sweden are expected to change in a future climate. This will result in both an increase and decrease as the change varies between different parts of the country, but also between different seasons.

In the southern parts of the country much of the winter precipitation is expected to fall as rain rather than snow, which is likely to lead to increased stream flow during the winter and a less obvious or absent spring flood. Climate analyses indicate that even in the northern parts of the country the spring flood can decrease and arrive earlier.

During the summers, however, climate scenarios show lower water flows and longer periods of low flows. This is a result of warmer temperatures and consequently also increased evaporation rates. Problems due to low water flows are expected to become more frequent in the south-eastern parts of the country.

Changes in precipitation and temperature will affect groundwater levels. Increased rainfall may lead to higher groundwater levels by up to tens of centimetres. However, in the south-eastern parts of the country, groundwater levels are expected to decrease.