This study investigated the correlation between western U.S. streamflow and two of the most important oceanic–atmospheric indices having significant effects in this region, namely, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Data from 61 streamflow stations across six different hydrologic regions of the western U.S. were analyzed, using a study period of 60 years from 1951 to 2010. Continuous wavelet transformation along with cross wavelet transformation and wavelet coherence were used to analyze the interaction between streamflow and climate indices. The results showed that streamflows have changed coincidentally with both ENSO and PDO over the study period at different time-scale bands and at various time intervals. Both ENSO and PDO showed correlation with streamflow change behavior from 1980 to 2005. ENSO showed a strong correlation with streamflow across the entire study period in a 10–12 year band. PDO showed a strong correlation in bands of 8–10 years and band beyond 16 years. The phase relationship showed that both ENSO and PDO preceded streamflow change behavior; in some instances, the variables were found to be moving in opposite directions even though they changed simultaneously. The results can be helpful in understanding the relationship between the climate indices and streamflow.
- continuous wavelet transformation
- cross wavelet transformation
- wavelet coherence
- western U.S. streamflow
- First received 15 December 2015.
- Accepted in revised form 15 July 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2016