Jain, S., M. P. Hoerling, and J. Eischeid, 2005: Decreasing reliability and increasing synchroneity of western North American streamflow. J. Climate, 18, 613-618.


Assessing climate-related societal vulnerability and mitigating impacts requires timely diagnosis of the nature of regional hydrologic change. A late-twentieth-century emergent trend is discovered toward increasing year-to-year variance (decreasing reliability) of streamflow across the major river basins in western North America — Fraser, Columbia, SacramentoSan Joaquin, and Upper Colorado. Simultaneously, a disproportionate increase in the incidence of synchronous flows (simultaneous high or low flows across all four river basins) has resulted in expansive water resources stress. The observed trends have analogs in wintertime atmospheric circulation regimes and ocean temperatures, raising new questions on the detection, attribution, and projection of regional hydrologic change induced by climate.