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Title: Assessment of future changes in water availability and aridity

Substantial changes in the hydrological cycle are projected for the 21st century, but these projections are subject to major uncertainties. In this context, the “dry gets drier, wet gets wetter” (DDWW) paradigm is often used as a simplifying summary. However, recent studies cast doubt on the validity of the paradigm and also on applying the widely used P-E (precipitation - evapotranspiration) metric over global land surfaces. Here we show in a comprehensive CMIP5-based assessment that projected changes in mean annual P - E are generally not significant, except for high-latitude regions showing wetting conditions until the end of the 21st century. Significant increases in aridity do occur in many subtropical and also adjacent humid regions. However, combining both metrics still shows that approximately 70% of all land area will not experience significant changes. Finally, based on these findings, we conclude that the DDWW paradigm is generally not confirmed for projected changes in most land areas.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland). Inst. for Atmospheric and Climate Science; Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland). Center for Climate Systems Modeling (C2SM)
  2. Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland). Inst. for Atmospheric and Climate Science
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; CH2-01 11-1
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 42; Journal Issue: 13; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland); Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison Program
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
OSTI Identifier:
1354885