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Climate variability associated with the North-Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has been cited as a likely driver of observed high flow trends in some national-scale studies. In the UK, Hannaford and Marsh (2008) found relationships between the NAO index and high flow indicators in western Britain, which is likely to influence the upward trends seen in these areas. The NAO has also been posited as a mechanism for influencing stream flows in central Europe. For example, Villarini et al. (2012) found the NAO to be a significant factor explaining patterns of extreme flooding in Austria, although other studies from central Europe have been less conclusive (e.g. Schmocker-Fackel and Naef 2010). The association of flooding with modes of large-scale atmospheric circulation raises the question whether recent changes in flood frequency reflect anthropogenic climate change or the influence of multi-decadal variability. These two factors are not mutually exclusive, though, since modelling studies suggest that the recent evolution of large-scale patterns such as the NAO is also driven by anthropogenic forcing (Dong, Sutton, and Woollings 2010).

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