Global River Discharge and Floods in the Warmer Climate of the Last Interglacial

Scussolini, Paolo; Eilander, Dirk; Sutanudjaja, Edwin H.; Ikeuchi, Hiroaki; Hoch, Jannis M.; Ward, Philip J.; Bakker, Pepijn; Otto‐Bliesner, Bette L.; Guo, Chuncheng; Stepanek, Christian; Zhang, Qiong; Braconnot, Pascale; Guarino, Maria Vittoria ORCID:; Muis, Sanne; Yamazaki, Dai; Veldkamp, Ted I.E.; Aerts, Jeroen C.J.H.. 2020 Global River Discharge and Floods in the Warmer Climate of the Last Interglacial. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (18), e2020GL089375.

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We investigate hydrology during a past climate slightly warmer than the present: the Last Interglacial (LIG). With daily output of pre‐industrial and LIG simulations from eight new climate models we force hydrological model PCR‐GLOBWB, and in turn hydrodynamic model CaMa‐Flood. Compared to pre‐industrial, annual mean LIG runoff, discharge, and 100‐year flood volume are considerably larger in the Northern Hemisphere, by 14%, 25% and 82%, respectively. Anomalies are negative in the Southern Hemisphere. In some boreal regions, LIG runoff and discharge are lower despite higher precipitation, due the higher temperatures and evaporation. LIG discharge is much higher for the Niger, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Irrawaddy, Pearl, and lower for the Mississippi, Saint Lawrence, Amazon, Paraná, Orange, Zambesi, Danube, Ob. Discharge is seasonally postponed in tropical rivers affected by monsoon changes. Results agree with published proxies on the sign of discharge anomaly in 15 of 23 sites where comparison is possible.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Keywords: Hydrology, Floods, Last Interglacial, Paleoclimate, River discharge, Global models
Date made live: 01 Sep 2020 07:50 +0 (UTC)

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