The decadal variability (>5 years) of the Danube river flow in the lower basin and its connection with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is analysed for the period 1931–95. Associated linkages with precipitation (PP) in the European sector, global sea surface temperature (SST) and atmospheric circulation for the period 1931–81, and the 500 hPa geopotential heights (G500) over the Northern Hemisphere for the period 1948–95 are also investigated.
The results show that there is an out-of-phase relationship between the time series of the Danube river flow anomalies and the NAO index. The time series of a PP index, defined as the average of normalized precipitation anomalies over a large area including the Danube basin, presents a time evolution similar to that of the river flow anomalies.
The correlation maps between the river flow anomalies and global SST show coherent large-scale patterns. High values of the Danube river flow are associated with a tripole-like SST structure in the North Atlantic similar to that appearing during the negative phase of the NAO, and with negative SST anomalies in the central North Pacific and positive SST anomalies in the eastern and central tropical Pacific. Physically consistent sea level pressure and 500 hPa geopotential height are obtained. Copyright © 2002 Royal Meteorological Society.