Centennial Drought Outlook Over the CONUS Using NASA-NEX Downscaled Climate Ensemble

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International Journal of Climatology

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Drought is a natural hazard developing slowly and affecting large areas which may have severe consequences on society and economy. Due to the effects of climate change, drought is expected to exacerbate in various regions in future. In this study, the impact of climate change on drought characteristics is assessed, and statistical methods are employed to analyse the significance of projections. This is the first study utilizing 21 recently available downscaled global climate models generated by NASA (NEX-GDDP) to evaluate drought projections over various regions across the United States. Drought is investigated through a multi-model dual-index dual-scenario approach to probabilistically analyse drought attributes while characterizing the uncertainty in future drought projections. Standardized Precipitation Index and Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index values at the seasonal scale (3 months) are used to project and analyse meteorological drought conditions from 1950 to 2099 at 0.25° spatial resolution. Two future concentration pathways of RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 are considered for this analysis. Accounting for the combined effects of precipitation and temperature variations reveals a considerable aggravation in severity and extent of future drought in the western United States and a tendency toward more frequent and intense summer droughts across the Contiguous United States.


© 2016 Royal Meteorological Society



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