Spatial differences in the impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation on the flow of rivers in Europe

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The article presents regional differences in the impact that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) exerts on the flow of European rivers. The impact is determined by temporal variations in the strength of relations expressed by coefficients of correlation between monthly or seasonal NAO indices and discharges recorded at 510 river profiles. The results of the correlation analysis were arranged using Ward’s method of hierarchical grouping. The classification of river profiles thus obtained made it possible to distinguish seven regions differing in the nature of the dependence between streamflow and the intensity of the NAO. The most statistically significant positive correlations are displayed by the rivers of Fennoscandia, Denmark and the northwest part of the British Isles in the winter period, while the most significant negative correlations (also in winter) are recorded for streams of the Mediterranean Basin, western France and the southeast of England. In the southeast part of the Baltic Sea drainage basin, significant positive correlations of streamflow with the NAO indices can be observed in the winter season and negative correlations are observed in spring.

Keywords: correlation analysis, North Atlantic Oscillation, river, runoff, typological classification, Ward’s hierarchical clustering method

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