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Title: Hydroclimatic trends during 1950–2018 over global land
Global hydroclimatic changes from 1950 to 2018 are analyzed using updated data of land precipitation, streamfow, and an improved form of the Palmer Drought Severity Index. The historical changes are then compared with climate model-simulated response to external forcing to determine how much of the recent change is forced response. It is found that precipitation has increased from 1950 to 2018 over mid-high latitude Eurasia, most North America, Southeast South America, and Northwest Australia, while it has decreased over most Africa, eastern Australia, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, and parts of East Asia, central South America, and the Pacifc coasts of Canada. Streamfow records largely confrm these precipitation changes. The wetting trend over Northwest Australia and Southeast South America is most pronounced in austral summer while the drying over Africa and wetting trend over mid-high latitude Eurasia are seen in all seasons. Coupled with the drying caused by rising surface temperatures, these precipitation changes have greatly increased the risk of drought over Africa, southern Europe, East Asia, eastern Australia, Northwest Canada, and southern Brazil. Global land precipitation and continental freshwater discharge show large interannual and inter-decadal variations, with negative anomalies during El Niño and following major volcanic eruptions in 1963, 1982, and 1991; whereas their decadal variations are correlated with the Interdecadal Pacifc Oscillation (IPO) with IPO’s warm phase associated with low land precipitation and continental discharge. The IPO and Atlantic multidecadal variability also dominate multidecadal variations in land aridity, accounting for 90% of the multidecadal variance. CMIP5 multi-model ensemble mean shows decreased precipitation and runoff and increased risk of drought during 1950–2018 over Southwest North America, Central America, northern and central South America (including the Amazon), southern and West Africa, the Mediterranean region, and Southeast Asia; while the northern mid-high latitudes, Southeast South America, and Northwest Australia see increased precipitation and runoff. The consistent spatial patterns between the observed changes and the model-simulated response suggest that many of the observed drying and wetting trends since 1950 may have resulted at least partly from historical external forcing. However, the drying over Southeast Asia and wetting over Northwest Australia are absent in the 21st century projections.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2015780 1743738
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Climate Dynamics
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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