Peak Streamflow Trends in Wisconsin and Their Relation to Changes in Climate, Water Years 1921–2020

Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5064-J
Prepared in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Missouri Department of Transportation, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, North Dakota Department of Water Resources, South Dakota Department of Transportation, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation



This study characterizes hydroclimatic variability and change in peak streamflow and daily streamflow in Wisconsin from water years 1921 through 2020. Nonstationarity in peak streamflow in Wisconsin can include monotonic trends, change points, and autocorrelation. Spatial patterns of nonstationarity in peak streamflow, daily streamflow, and monthly precipitation, temperature, and snowfall were examined using four temporal periods. Upward trends in peak streamflow and daily streamflow were detected across the State, from around 1990 to 2020 and were likely predominantly driven by concurrent increases in precipitation and temperatures during this time. Earlier decreases in peak streamflow between the 1920s to the 1980s in the southern parts of the State were likely affected by nonclimate-related factors such as urbanization, water use, and land-use changes associated with agriculture.

Suggested Citation

Levin, S.B., 2024, Peak streamflow trends in Wisconsin and their relation to changes in climate, water years 1921–2020, chap. J of Ryberg, K.R., comp., Peak streamflow trends and their relation to changes in climate in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2023–5064, 49 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Purpose and Scope
  • Description of Study Area
  • Brief History of U.S. Geological Survey Peak-Streamflow Data Collection in Wisconsin
  • Brief History of Statistical Analysis of Peak Streamflow and Nonstationarity
  • Review of Research Relating to Climatic Variability and Change
  • Data
  • Methods
  • Results of Streamflow and Climate Analyses
  • Discussion and Implications for Flood-Frequency Analysis
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Peak streamflow trends in Wisconsin and their relation to changes in climate, water years 1921–2020
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2023-5064
Chapter J
DOI 10.3133/sir20235064J
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description Report: ix, 49 p.; Data Release; Dataset
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details