Global River discharge and floods in the warmer climate of the last interglacial

Paolo Scussolini, Dirk Eilander, Edwin H. Sutanudjaja, Hiroaki Ikeuchi, Jannis M. Hoch, Philip J. Ward, Pepijn Bakker, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Chuncheng Guo, Christian Stepanek, Qiong Zhang, Pascale Braconnot, Maria-Vittoria Guarino, Sanne Muis, Dai Yamazaki, Ted I.E. Veldkamp, Jeroen C.J.H. Aerts

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3 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate hydrology during a past climate slightly warmer than the present: the last interglacial (LIG). With daily output of preindustrial and LIG simulations from eight new climate models we force hydrological model PCR‐GLOBWB and in turn hydrodynamic model CaMa‐Flood. Compared to preindustrial, annual mean LIG runoff, discharge, and 100‐yr flood volume are considerably larger in the Northern Hemisphere, by 14%, 25%, and 82%, respectively. Anomalies are negative in the Southern Hemisphere. In some boreal regions, LIG runoff and discharge are lower despite higher precipitation, due to the higher temperatures and evaporation. LIG discharge is much higher for the Niger, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Irrawaddy, and Pearl and lower for the Mississippi, Saint Lawrence, Amazon, Paraná, Orange, Zambesi, Danube, and Ob. Discharge is seasonally postponed in tropical rivers affected by monsoon changes. Results agree with published proxies on the sign of discharge anomaly in 15 of 23 sites where comparison is possible.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL089375
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020


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