Title

Drought and regional hydrologic variations in the United States: Associations with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-30-1996

Publication Title

Water Resources Research

Volume

32

Issue

5

First page number:

1359

Last page number:

1373

Abstract

Using 94 years of monthly Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) data for 344 climate divisions, this study investigates the hydroclimatic response in the United States to the extreme phases of the Southern Oscillation (El Niño and La Nina). Several regions of coherent response to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are identified. The strongest relationship between El Niño and extreme drought years is found in the Pacific Northwest. A strong relationship is also noticed in the southern United States, where dry conditions occur consistently during La Niña events. Next, the conditional response in PDSI is evaluated based on the extreme phases of the Southern Oscillation. The PDSI results were compared to similar analyses on 41 years of station temperature, precipitation, and streamflow data. A consistent response is seen in the other hydroclimatic variables, though the most filtered response is seen in PDSI data and streamflow data. The major contribution to the understanding of the ENSO–United States climate relationship is the evaluation of the general form of drought and comparison of these results to the fundamental hydrologic processes (precipitation, temperature, and streamflow).

Keywords

Droughts; El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO); Hydroclimatology; Pacific Northwest; Precipitation; Streamflow; Temperature; Western United States

Disciplines

Climate | Environmental Sciences | Fresh Water Studies

Language

English

Permissions

Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or use interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the article. Publisher copyright policy allows author to archive post-print (author’s final manuscript). When post-print is available or publisher policy changes, the article will be deposited

Identifier

DOI: 10.1029/96WR00353

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