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Effects of winter atmospheric circulation on temporal and spatial variability in annual streamflow in the western United States

Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques

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Abstract

Winter mean 700-hectoPascal (hPa) height anomalies, representing the average atmospheric circulation during the snow season, are compared with annual streamflow measured at 140 streamgauges in the western United States. Correlation and anomaly pattern analyses are used to identify relationships between winter mean atmospheric circulation and temporal and spatial variability in annual streamflow. Results indicate that variability in winter mean 700-Hpa height anomalies accounts for a statistically significant portion of the temporal variability in annual streamflow in the western United States. In general, above-average annual streamflow is associated with negative winter mean 700-Hpa height anomalies over the eastern North Pacific Ocean and/or the western United States. The anomalies produce an anomalous flow of moist air from the eastern North Pacific Ocean into the western United States that increases winter precipitation and snowpack accumulations, and subsequently streamflow. Winter mean 700-hPa height anomalies also account for statistically significant differences in spatial distributions of annual streamflow. As part of this study, winter mean atmospheric circulation patterns for the 40 years analysed were classified into five winter mean 700-hPa height anomaly patterns. These patterns are related to statistically significant and physically meaningful differences in spatial distributions of annual streamflow.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of winter atmospheric circulation on temporal and spatial variability in annual streamflow in the western United States
Series title:
Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques
Volume
41
Issue:
6
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques
First page:
873
Last page:
887
Number of Pages:
15