Global River Discharge and Floods in the Warmer Climate of the Last Interglacial

Christian.Stepanek [ at ]


We investigate hydrology during a past climate slightly warmer than the present: the Last Interglacial (LIG). With daily output of pre‐industrial and LIG simulations from eight new climate models we force hydrological model PCR‐GLOBWB, and in turn hydrodynamic model CaMa‐Flood. Compared to pre‐industrial, annual mean LIG runoff, discharge, and 100‐year 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 the higher temperatures and evaporation. LIG discharge is much higher for the Niger, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Irrawaddy, Pearl, and lower for the Mississippi, Saint Lawrence, Amazon, Paraná, Orange, Zambesi, Danube, 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.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Research Networks
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1029/2020GL089375

Cite as
Scussolini, P. , Eilander, D. , Sutanudjaja, E. H. , Ikeuchi, H. , Hoch, J. M. , Ward, P. J. , Bakker, P. , Otto‐Bliesner, B. L. , Guo, C. , Stepanek, C. , Zhang, Q. , Braconnot, P. , Guarino, M. , Muis, S. , Yamazaki, D. , Veldkamp, T. I. E. and Aerts, J. C. J. H. (2020): Global River Discharge and Floods in the Warmer Climate of the Last Interglacial , Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (e2020G) . doi: 10.1029/2020GL089375



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