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Climate Variability and Floods—A Global Review

Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, 60-809 Poznań, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1399;
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 4 July 2019 / Published: 7 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Oceanic-Atmospheric Oscillations on Rivers)
PDF [778 KB, uploaded 9 July 2019]


There is a strong inter-annual and inter-decadal variability in time series of flood-related variables, such as intense precipitation, high river discharge, flood magnitude, and flood loss at a range of spatial scales. Perhaps part of this variability is random or chaotic, but it is quite natural to seek driving factors, in a statistical sense. It is likely that climate variability (atmosphere–ocean oscillation) track plays an important role in the interpretation of the variability of flood-related characteristics, globally and, even more so, in several regions. The aim of this review paper is to create an inventory of information on spatially and temporally organized links of various climate-variability drivers with variability of characteristics of water abundance reported in scientific literature for a range of scales, from global to local. The climate variability indices examined in this paper are: El Niño-Southern Oscillations (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillations (NAO), Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), and Pacific Decadal Oscillations (PDO). A meta-analysis of results from many studies reported in scientific literature was carried out. The published results were collected and classified into categories after regions, climate variability modes, as well as flood-related variables: precipitation, river flow, and flood losses. View Full-Text
Keywords: floods; climate variability; ocean–atmosphere system; precipitation extremes; river discharge; flood loss floods; climate variability; ocean–atmosphere system; precipitation extremes; river discharge; flood loss

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kundzewicz, Z.W.; Szwed, M.; Pińskwar, I. Climate Variability and Floods—A Global Review. Water 2019, 11, 1399.

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