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Title: Global patterns of drought recovery

Drought has major impacts on natural and human systems, and is especially important for land carbon sink variability due to its influence on terrestrial biosphere climate regulation. While 20th Century trends in drought regimes have been varied, “more extreme extremes”, including more frequent and severe droughts, are expected in the 21st Century. Recovery time, the length of time an ecosystem requires to revert to its pre-drought functional state, is a critical metric of drought impact. Yet the factors influencing drought recovery and its spatiotemporal patterns are largely unknown. Here we use three independent global data products of gross primary productivity to show that, across diverse terrestrial ecosystems, drought recovery times are strongly associated with climate and carbon cycle dynamics, with biodiversity and CO 2 fertilization as secondary factors. Our analysis also provides two key insights into the spatiotemporal patterns of drought recovery time: (1) Across the globe, recovery is longest in the tropics and high northern latitudes—critical tipping elements in Earth’s climate system. (2) Drought impacts, the area of ecosystems under active recovery and recovery times, have increased over the 20th century. If future droughts become more frequent, time between droughts may become shorter than drought recovery time, leading tomore » chronically impacted ecosystems.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [6] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [6] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [11] ;  [3] ;  [12] ;  [13] ;  [14] ;  [15]
  1. Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA (United States); Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States)
  2. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
  3. Carnegie Inst. of Science, Stanford, CA (United States)
  4. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), La Canada Flintridge, CA (United States). Jet Propulsion Lab.
  5. Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States)
  6. Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States)
  7. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  8. US Forest Service, Ogden, UT (United States). Rocky Mountain Research Station
  9. Arable Labs Inc., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  10. National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO (United States)
  11. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  12. Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME (United States)
  13. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  14. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States)
  15. Auburn Univ., AL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 548; Journal Issue: 7666; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: