Monthly stream flow series from 1345 sites around the world are used to characterize geographic differences in the seasonality and year-to-year variability of stream flow. Stream flow seasonality varies regionally, depending on the timing of maximum precipitation, evapotranspiration, and contributions from snow and ice. Lags between peaks of precipitation and stream flow vary smoothly from long delays in high-latitude and mountainous regions to short delays in the warmest sectors. Stream flow is most variable from year to year in dry regions of the southwest United States and Mexico, the Sahel, and southern continents, and it varies more (relatively) than precipitation in the same regions. Tropical rivers have the steadiest flows. El Nin??o variations are correlated with stream flow in many parts of the Americas, Europe, and Australia. Many stream flow series from North America, Europe, and the Tropics reflect North Pacific climate, whereas series from the eastern United States, Europe, and tropical South America and Africa reflect North Atlantic climate variations.
Additional publication details
Global characteristics of stream flow seasonality and variability