Suwannee River Long-Range Streamflow Forecasts Based on Seasonal Climate Predictors

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Journal of American Water Resources Association





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A study of the influence of climate variability on stream flow in the southeastern United States is presented. Using a methodology previously applied to watersheds in Australia and the United States, a long range stream flow forecast (0 to 9 months in advance) is developed. Persistence (i.e., the previous season's stream flow) and climate predictors of the previous season are used to forecast the following season's (winter and spring) stream flow of the Suwannee River located in northern Florida, USA. The winter and spring stream flow is historically the most likely to have severe flood events due to large scale cyclonic (frontal) storms. Results of the analysis indicated that a strong El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal exists at various lead times to the winter and spring stream flow of the Suwannee River. These results are based on the high correlation values of two commonly used measurements of ENSO strength, the Multivariate ENSO Index and Sea Surface Temperature Range 1. Using the relationships developed between climate and stream flow, a continuous exceedance probability forecast was developed for two Suwannee River stations. The forecast system provided an improved forecast for ENSO years. The ability to predict above normal (flood) or below normal (drought) years can provide communities the necessary lead time to protect life, property, sensitive wetlands, and endangered and threatened species.


Climate; Correlation; Drainage basins; Drought; Eastern U.S.; El Nino; Floods; Florida; North America; Ocean; Oscillations; Prediction; Probability; River discharge; Southeastern U.S.; Statistical analysis; Storms; Streamflow; Surface water; Suwannee River; Temperature; United States; Wetlands


Climate | Environmental Sciences | Fresh Water Studies



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