Hydrological Sciences Journal | O’Connell et al. [2016]


Emanating from his remarkable characterization of long-term variability in geophysical records in the early 1950s, Hurst’s scientific legacy to hydrology and other disciplines is explored. A statistical explanation of the so-called ‘Hurst Phenomenon’ did not emerge until 1968 when Mandelbrot and co-authors proposed fractional Gaussian noise based on the hypothesis of infinite memory. A vibrant hydrological literature ensued where alternative modelling representations were explored and debated eg ARMA models, the Broken Line model, shifting mean models with no memory, FARIMA models, and Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics, acknowledging a link with the work of Kolmogorov in 1940. The diffusion of Hurst’s work beyond hydrology is summarized by discipline and citations, showing that he arguably has the largest scientific footprint of any hydrologist in the last century. Its particular relevance to the modelling of long-term climatic variability in the era of climate change is discussed. Links to various long-term modes of variability in the climate system, driven by fluctuations in sea surface temperatures and ocean dynamics, are explored. A physical explanation of the Hurst Phenomenon in hydrology remains as a challenge for future research.

Full text can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s