Large-scale climate, precipitation and British river flows: Identifying hydroclimatological connections and dynamics

Lavers, David; Prudhomme, Christel; Hannah, David M.. 2010 Large-scale climate, precipitation and British river flows: Identifying hydroclimatological connections and dynamics. Journal of Hydrology, 395. 242-255.

Full text not available from this repository.


Investigation of links between large-scale climate and river basin-scale precipitation and discharge is necessary to improve understanding of the hydroclimatological process chain. This paper aims to identify the large-scale circulation variables that yield significant statistical relationships with precipitation and river flow for ten British basins, and evaluate the dependence of the strength and location of centres of climate–hydrology correlation on basin situation. Using quasi-geostrophic theory as a framework to select appropriate explanatory variables, this study undertakes ranked correlation analysis between gridded ERA-40 atmospheric data and precipitation and river flow observations at a monthly resolution over a 26 year period. Relationships between large-scale atmospheric circulation and precipitation and river flow are found to vary spatially and seasonally across Britain, with strongest associations evident in western Britain and in winter. Monthly precipitation totals and river flow demonstrate highly significant negative (positive) correlation with mean sea level pressure MSLP (Zonal Wind U), but the location of high correlation centres vary for different basins. There are weaker atmospheric links with river flow compared to precipitation, reflecting the non-linearity of the rainfall–runoff transformation and the importance of basin properties as a modifier of climate inputs. The North Atlantic Oscillation Index (NAOI) cannot capture the seasonal movement of climate–hydrology connections due to the fixed station locations used for the index calculation, and thus has weaker monthly correlations with precipitation and river flow compared to gridded ERA-40 circulation variables (and in particular the comparable MSLP).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 3 - Science for Water Management > WA - 3.1 - Develop next generation methods for river flow frequency estimation and forecasting
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Harding (to July 2011)
ISSN: 0022-1694
Additional Keywords: large-scale climatic circulation, North Atlantic oscillation, quasi-geostrophic theory, ERA-40 reanalysis, river basin discharge, precipitation
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 17 Feb 2011 09:47 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...