A 5000-year regional paleoflood chronology, based on flood deposits from 19 rivers in Arizona and Utah, reveals that the largest floods in the region cluster into distinct time intervals that coincide with periods of cool, moist climate and frequent El Niño events. The floods were most numerous from 4800 to 3600 years before present (B.P.), around 1000 years B.P., and after 500 years B.P., but decreased markedly from 3600 to 2200 and 800 to 600 years B.P. Analogous modern floods are associated with a specific set of anomalous atmospheric circulation conditions that were probably more prevalent during past flood epochs.
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