Macroscale water fluxes 2. Water and energy supply control of their interannual variability
Article first published online: 23 OCT 2002
Copyright 2002 by the American Geophysical Union.
Water Resources Research
Volume 38, Issue 10, pages 24-1–24-9, October 2002
How to Cite
Macroscale water fluxes, 2, Water and energy supply control of their interannual variability, Water Resour. Res., 38(10), 1206, doi:10.1029/2001WR000760, 2002., and ,
- Issue published online: 23 OCT 2002
- Article first published online: 23 OCT 2002
- Manuscript Revised: 15 APR 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 APR 2002
- Manuscript Received: 9 JUL 2001
- water balance;
- interannual variability;
 Controls on interannual variations in water and energy balances of large river basins (10,000 km2 and greater) are evaluated in the framework of the semiempirical relation / = [1 + (/)−ν]−1/ν in which and E, P, and R are basin mean values of annual evaporation, precipitation, and surface net radiation, respectively, expressed as equivalent evaporative water flux, overbars denote long-term means, and ν is a parameter. Precipitation is interpolated from gauges; evaporation is taken as the difference between precipitation and runoff, with the latter determined from basin discharge measurements and a simple storage-delay model; and radiation is based on a recent analysis in which 8 years of satellite observations were assimilated into radiative transfer models. Objective estimates of precipitation errors are considered; results suggest that past estimates of ν may have been biased by systematic errors in estimates of precipitation. Under the assumption that the semiempirical relation applies also to annual values, long-term mean observations are sufficient to predict the sensitivity of annual runoff to fluctuations in precipitation or net radiation. Additionally, an apparent sensitivity of runoff to precipitation can be inferred from the observations by linear regression. This apparent sensitivity is generally in good agreement with the predicted sensitivity. In particular, the apparent sensitivity increases with decreasing basin /; however, slightly excessive apparent sensitivity (relative to the prediction) is found in humid basins of the middle latitudes. This finding suggests a negative correlation between precipitation and net radiation: the increase in runoff caused by a positive precipitation anomaly is amplified by an accompanying decrease in surface net radiation, possibly induced by increased cloud cover. The inferred sensitivity of radiation (water flux equivalent) to precipitation is on the order of −0.1. Such a value is supported by independent direct analysis of annual precipitation and radiation data. The fraction of interannual variance in runoff explained by the annual precipitation anomaly (including any correlative influence of net radiation) varies systematically with climatic aridity, approaching unity in humid basins and falling to 40–80% in very arid basins. We conclude that the influence of seasonality of the precipitation anomaly on annual runoff is negligible under humid conditions, though it may be significant under arid conditions.