Simplicity of Monthly Climate and Its Implications for Hydrologic Signatures at Various Time-Scales

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Wouter Berghuijs, University of Bristol, Civil Engineering, Bristol, United Kingdom, Murugesu Sivapalan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL, United States, Hubert Savenije, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 5612, Netherlands and Ross A Woods, University of Bristol, Civil Engineering, Bristol, BS8, United Kingdom
We expose a distinct repetitive pattern of monthly climates all around the world. This pattern allows using simple analytical functions to describe mean monthly precipitation, potential evaporation and temperature conditions. This description is used to classify several hundred catchments in the contiguous United States into classes with similar seasonal water balances. The classification shows how climate seasonality relates to seasonal hydrological functioning, and regional ecosystem, soil, and vegetation classes. Based on the classification of catchments we show how these factors in return have a strong imprint on streamflow signatures over a wide range of time scales (daily to decadal) and a wide range of states (low flows to floods).