Surface Water and Climate
Climate elasticity of streamflow in the United States
Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
Water Resources Research
Volume 37, Issue 6, pages 1771–1781, June 2001
How to Cite
2001), Climate elasticity of streamflow in the United States, Water Resour. Res., 37(6), 1771–1781, doi:10.1029/2000WR900330., , and (
- Issue published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 OCT 2000
- Manuscript Received: 14 JAN 2000
Precipitation elasticity of streamflow, ϵP, provides a measure of the sensitivity of streamflow to changes in rainfall. Watershed model-based estimates of ϵP are shown to be highly sensitive to model structure and calibration error. A Monte Carlo experiment compares a nonparametric estimator of ϵP with various watershed model-based approaches. The nonparametric estimator is found to have low bias and is as robust as or more robust than alternate model-based approaches. The nonparametric estimator is used to construct a map of ϵP for the United States. Comparisons with 10 detailed climate change studies reveal that the contour map of ϵP introduced here provides a validation metric for past and future climate change investigations in the United States. Further investigations reveal that ϵP tends to be low for basins with significant snow accumulation and for basins whose moisture and energy inputs are seasonally in phase with one another. The Budyko hypothesis can only explain variations in ϵP for very humid basins.