Spatiotemporal Variation in the Continental US Streamflow in Association with Large-Scale Climate Signals Across Multiple Spectral Bands

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Water Resources Management

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The study attempts to investigate the significant spatiotemporal variations in the continental United States’ streamflow as a response to large-scale climate signals across multiple spectral bands (SBs). Using non-parametric (long-term) trend and (abrupt) shift detection tests, coupled with discrete wavelet transform, 237 unimpaired streamflow stations were analyzed over a study period of 62 years (1951 to 2012), looking at the water year and seasonal data, along with three discrete SBs of two, four, and eight years. Wavelet coherence analysis, derived from continuous wavelet transform, determined the association between the regional streamflow patterns and three large-scale climate signals, i.e., El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), across continuous SBs ranging from two to 16 years. The results indicated significant positive (negative) trends and shifts in the northeastern and north-central (northwestern) regions with an increase in the number of stations as the SBs increased. The spatiotemporal association between regional streamflow and the climate signals varied significantly (from no correlation, Rn2~ 0, to perfect correlation, Rn2~ 1.0) even amongst adjacent regions. Among the climate signals, ENSO showed the highest association (Rn2~ 1.0), having a consistent phase relationship with the regional streamflow patterns, especially in the higher SBs. PDO (with the least influence among the three signals) and AMO showed stronger associations, mostly in the lower SBs. These results may help explain the teleconnections between the climate signals and the US streamflow variations across multiple SBs, which may lead to improved regional flow regulations.


Continental US streamflow; ENSO, PDO, and AMO; Discrete wavelet transform; Continuous wavelet transform; Trends and shifts; Large-scale climate signals; Regional streamflow


Climate | Geotechnical Engineering | Hydraulic Engineering



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