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  1. Abstract

    We use six Earth system models (ESMs) run under SSP3-7.0, a scenario characterized by a relatively large land use change (LUC) over the 21st century, and under a variant of the same scenario where a significantly different pattern of LUC, taken from SSP1-2.6, was used, all else being equal. Our goal is to identify changes in climate extremes between the two scenarios that are statistically significant and robust across the ESMs. The motivation for this study is to test a long-held assumption of the shared socio-economic pathway-representative concentration pathway (SSP-RCP) scenario framework: that the signal from LUC can be safely disregarded when pairing different SSPs to the compatible RCPs, where compatibility only considers global radiative forcing, predominantly determined by well-mixed greenhouse gasses emissions. We analyze extremes of daily minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation, after fitting non-stationary generalized extreme value distributions in a way that borrows strength along the length of the simulation (2015–2100) and across initial condition ensembles. We consider changes in the 20 year return levels (RL20s) of these metrics by 2100, and focus on eight locations where LUC is large within each scenario, and strongly differs between scenarios, averaging the RL20s over a neighborhood characterized bymore »the same LUC to enhance the signal to noise. We find that precipitation extremes do not show significant differences attributable to LUC differences. For temperature extremes (cold and hot) results are mixed, with some location-index combination showing significant results for some of the ESMs but not all, and not many coherent changes appearing for indices across regions, or regions across indices. These ESMs are representative of what is typically adopted as the source of climate information for impact studies, when the SSP-RCP framework is put to use. Overall, our analysis suggests that the hypothesis to pair SSPs to RCPs in a flexible fashion is overall defensible. However, the appearance of some coherence in a few locations and for some indices invites further investigation.

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  2. Abstract

    Quantifying the spatial and interconnected structure of regional to continental scale droughts is one of the unsolved global hydrology problems, which is important for understanding the looming risk of mega-scale droughts and the resulting water and food scarcity and their cascading impact on the worldwide economy. Using a Complex Network analysis, this study explores the topological characteristics of global drought events based on the self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index. Event Synchronization is used to measure the strength of association between the onset of droughts at different spatial locations within the time lag of 1-3 months. The network coefficients derived from the synchronization network indicate a highly heterogeneous connectivity structure underlying global drought events. Drought hotspot regions such as Southern Europe, Northeast Brazil, Australia, and Northwest USA behave as drought hubs that synchronize regionally and with other hubs at inter-continental or even inter-hemispheric scale. This observed affinity among drought hubs is equivalent to the ‘rich-club phenomenon’ in Network Theory, where ‘rich’ nodes (here, drought hubs) are tightly interconnected to form a club, implicating the possibility of simultaneous large-scale droughts over multiple continents.

  3. Abstract Subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) precipitation prediction in boreal spring and summer months, which contains a significant number of high-signal events, is scientifically challenging and prediction skill has remained poor for years. Tibetan Plateau (TP) spring observed surface ­temperatures show a lag correlation with summer precipitation in several remote regions, but current global land–atmosphere coupled models are unable to represent this behavior due to significant errors in producing observed TP surface temperatures. To address these issues, the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) program launched the “Impact of Initialized Land Temperature and Snowpack on Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Prediction” (LS4P) initiative as a community effort to test the impact of land temperature in high-mountain regions on S2S prediction by climate models: more than 40 institutions worldwide are participating in this project. After using an innovative new land state initialization approach based on observed surface 2-m temperature over the TP in the LS4P experiment, results from a multimodel ensemble provide evidence for a causal relationship in the observed association between the Plateau spring land temperature and summer precipitation over several regions across the world through teleconnections. The influence is underscored by an out-of-phase oscillation between the TP and Rocky Mountain surface temperatures. This study reveals formore »the first time that high-mountain land temperature could be a substantial source of S2S precipitation predictability, and its effect is probably as large as ocean surface temperature over global “hotspot” regions identified here; the ensemble means in some “hotspots” produce more than 40% of the observed anomalies. This LS4P approach should stimulate more follow-on explorations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  4. Abstract. Subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) prediction, especially the prediction of extreme hydroclimate events such as droughts and floods, is not only scientifically challenging, but also has substantial societal impacts. Motivated by preliminary studies, the Global Energy and Water Exchanges(GEWEX)/Global Atmospheric System Study (GASS) has launched a new initiativecalled “Impact of Initialized Land Surface Temperature and Snowpack on Subseasonal to Seasonal Prediction” (LS4P) as the first international grass-roots effort to introduce spring land surface temperature(LST)/subsurface temperature (SUBT) anomalies over high mountain areas as acrucial factor that can lead to significant improvement in precipitationprediction through the remote effects of land–atmosphere interactions. LS4P focuses on process understanding and predictability, and hence it is differentfrom, and complements, other international projects that focus on theoperational S2S prediction. More than 40 groups worldwide have participated in this effort, including 21 Earth system models, 9 regionalclimate models, and 7 data groups. This paper provides an overview of the history and objectives of LS4P, provides the first-phase experimental protocol (LS4P-I) which focuses on the remote effect ofthe Tibetan Plateau, discusses the LST/SUBT initialization, and presents thepreliminary results. Multi-model ensemble experiments and analyses ofobservational data have revealed that the hydroclimatic effect of the springLST on the Tibetan Plateau is not limitedmore »to the Yangtze River basin but may have a significant large-scale impact on summer precipitation beyond EastAsia and its S2S prediction. Preliminary studies and analysis have alsoshown that LS4P models are unable to preserve the initialized LST anomaliesin producing the observed anomalies largely for two main reasons: (i) inadequacies in the land models arising from total soil depths which are tooshallow and the use of simplified parameterizations, which both tend to limit the soil memory; (ii) reanalysis data, which are used for initial conditions, have large discrepancies from the observed mean state andanomalies of LST over the Tibetan Plateau. Innovative approaches have beendeveloped to largely overcome these problems.« less