As part of an effort to demonstrate the use of climate predictions for water resources management, the El Nio (n) over tilde /Southem Oscillation (ENSO) influences on stream flow in the Kelani River in Sri Lanka were investigated using correlation analysis, composite analysis and contingency tables. El Ni (n) over tildeo (warm phase of ENSO) was associated with decreased annual stream flow and La Ni (n) over tildea (cold phase of ENSO) with increased annual flows. The annual stream flow had a negative correlation with the simultaneous ENSO index of NINO3.4 that was significant at the 95% level. This negative correlation is enhanced to a 99% level if the aggregate January to September or the April to September stream flow alone were considered. Although, there is little correlation between ENSO indices and stream flow during the October to December period, there is a high correlation between rainfall and NINO3.4 (r = 0.51, significant at the 99% level). Therefore ENSO based rainfall predictions can be used along with a hydrological model to predict the October to December stream flow. This study demonstrates the viability of using ENSO based predictors for January to September or April to September stream flow predictions in the Kelani River. The October to December stream flow may be predicted by exploiting the strong relationship between ENSO and rainfall during that period. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
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