TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

A separate flow regime classification for northern Australia: is it needed?

TitleA separate flow regime classification for northern Australia: is it needed?
Publication TypeCorporate Publication
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPusey, BJ, Kennard, MJ, Olden, JD

This report describes further extension of the recently developed continental-scale classification of Australia’s rivers based on the flow regimes. We examined whether a classification scheme limited to tropical regions only was necessary to provide a finer scale assessment of flow regime variation to aid in the development of a framework to guide researchers and environmental managers than that provided by the continental classification. The tropical classification recognised eight different flow regime types, separating them according to differences in perenniality/intermittency, predictability and timing of major floods. The tropical classification recognised finer scale variation predominantly within two of the continental flow regime classes: stable summer base flow and predictable summer highly intermittent. The eight different tropical flow regime classes and their distribution across northern Australia are described. The utility of a “stand alone” tropical classification distinct from the continental classification is discussed with reference to potential competition between these two classification schemes and other recently developed classification schemes. In addition, the already existing ability to decompose finer scale hydrological variation within the continental flow classes is highlighted.