Comparison of modern and ancient river deposits shows that both seasonally and interannually highly variable discharge results in distinct sedimentary facies and architecture in the monsoonal and subtropical river deposits, as compared to the perennial precipitation zone rivers. The monsoon zone and subtropical river deposits share most facies and architectural characteristics. The differences are mainly limited to biogenic and pedogenic features, such as in-channel vegetation and vegetation-induced sedimentary structures in rivers in subhumid subtropics. Extremely flashy rivers in arid and semiarid subtropics with highly intermittent precipitation also stand apart by the resemblance with megaflood deposits due to the dominance of Froude supercritical flow sedimentary structures and rapid deposition of suspended sediment. The distinct sedimentary characteristics of the monsoonal and subtropical rivers can be used as a climate proxy. However, they primarily reflect the precipitation pattern, rather than specific latitude or climate zone. Moreover, differences in past climates, as compared to the modern conditions, cause variability in the latitudinal distribution of monsoonal and subtropical precipitation zones throughout the geological history. Arctic rivers also experience seasonally highly variable discharge and display sedimentary characteristics that are partially similar to those of the monsoon zone and subtropical rivers.