Global land surface runoff and sea surface temperatures (SST) are analyzed to identify the primary modes of variability of these hydroclimatic data for the period 1905-2002. A monthly water-balance model first is used with global monthly temperature and precipitation data to compute time series of annual gridded runoff for the analysis period. The annual runoff time series data are combined with gridded annual sea surface temperature data, and the combined dataset is subjected to a principal components analysis (PCA) to identify the primary modes of variability. The first three components from the PCA explain 29% of the total variability in the combined runoff/SST dataset. The first component explains 15% of the total variance and primarily represents long-term trends in the data. The long-term trends in SSTs are evident as warming in all of the oceans. The associated long-term trends in runoff suggest increasing flows for parts of North America, South America, Eurasia, and Australia; decreasing runoff is most notable in western Africa. The second principal component explains 9% of the total variance and reflects variability of the El Ni??o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and its associated influence on global annual runoff patterns. The third component explains 5% of the total variance and indicates a response of global annual runoff to variability in North Aflantic SSTs. The association between runoff and North Atlantic SSTs may explain an apparent steplike change in runoff that occurred around 1970 for a number of continental regions.
Additional publication details
Joint variability of global runoff and global sea surface temperatures