On the regional-scale variability in flow duration curves in Peninsular India

Pankaj Dey, Jeenu Mathai, Murugesu Sivapalan, Pradeep P. Mujumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peninsular India is a unique region with major mountain ranges that govern regional atmospheric circulation and precipitation variability, the monsoons, and regional geology at range of timescales and process scales. However, the landscape and climatic feature controls on streamflow variability at a regional scale using flow duration curves (FDCs)-compact descriptions of streamflow variability that offer a window into the multiple, interacting processes that contribute to streamflow variability-have received little attention. This study examines the suitability of the partitioning of (1) an annual streamflow FDC into seasonal FDCs and (2) a total streamflow FDC into fast-and slow-flow FDCs to unravel the process controls on FDCs at a regional scale, with application to low-gradient rivers flowing east from the Western Ghats in Peninsular India. The results indicate that bimodal rainfall seasonality and subsurface gradients explain the higher contribution of slow flow to total flow across the north-south gradient of the region. Shapes of fast and slow FDCs are controlled by recession parameters, revealing the role of climate seasonality and geological profiles, respectively. Systematic spatial variation across the north-south gradient is observed, highlighting the importance of the coherent functioning of landscape-hydroclimate settings in imparting a distinct signature of streamflow variability. The framework is useful to discover the role of time and process controls on streamflow variability in a region with seasonal hydro-climatology and hydro-geological gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1514
Number of pages22
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 3 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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