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Title: Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates

Abstract

The large socioeconomic costs of droughts make them a crucial target for impact assessments of climate change scenarios. Using multiple drought metrics and a set of simulations with the Community Earth System Model targeting 1.5°C and 2°C above preindustrial global mean temperatures, we investigate changes in aridity and the risk of consecutive drought years. If warming is limited to 2°C, these simulations suggest little change in drought risk for the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains compared to present day. In the Mediterranean and central Europe, however, drought risk increases significantly for both 1.5°C and 2°C warming targets, and the additional 0.5°C of the 2°C climate leads to significantly higher drought risk. Our study suggests that limiting anthropogenic warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C, as aspired to by the Paris Climate Agreement, may have benefits for future drought risk but that such benefits may be regional and in some cases highly uncertain.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO (United States). Research Applications Lab.
  2. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO (United States). Climate and Global Dynamics Lab.
  3. Univ. of Bern (Switzerland). Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Dept. of Climate and Environmental Physics
  4. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States). Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER). Earth and Environmental Systems Science Division; National Science Foundation (NSF); US Dept. of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Reclamation (USBR); Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Contributing Org.:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, CO (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1473891
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1375068
Grant/Contract Number:  
FC02‐97ER62402; AGS‐1243204; AGS‐1401400; AGS 1243125
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 44; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; drought; drought risk; climate modeling; projections; climate targets; mitigation

Citation Formats

Lehner, Flavio, Coats, Sloan, Stocker, Thomas F., Pendergrass, Angeline G., Sanderson, Benjamin M., Raible, Christoph C., and Smerdon, Jason E. Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017GL074117.
Lehner, Flavio, Coats, Sloan, Stocker, Thomas F., Pendergrass, Angeline G., Sanderson, Benjamin M., Raible, Christoph C., & Smerdon, Jason E. Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates. United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL074117.
Lehner, Flavio, Coats, Sloan, Stocker, Thomas F., Pendergrass, Angeline G., Sanderson, Benjamin M., Raible, Christoph C., and Smerdon, Jason E. Fri . "Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates". United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL074117. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1473891.
@article{osti_1473891,
title = {Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates},
author = {Lehner, Flavio and Coats, Sloan and Stocker, Thomas F. and Pendergrass, Angeline G. and Sanderson, Benjamin M. and Raible, Christoph C. and Smerdon, Jason E.},
abstractNote = {The large socioeconomic costs of droughts make them a crucial target for impact assessments of climate change scenarios. Using multiple drought metrics and a set of simulations with the Community Earth System Model targeting 1.5°C and 2°C above preindustrial global mean temperatures, we investigate changes in aridity and the risk of consecutive drought years. If warming is limited to 2°C, these simulations suggest little change in drought risk for the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains compared to present day. In the Mediterranean and central Europe, however, drought risk increases significantly for both 1.5°C and 2°C warming targets, and the additional 0.5°C of the 2°C climate leads to significantly higher drought risk. Our study suggests that limiting anthropogenic warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C, as aspired to by the Paris Climate Agreement, may have benefits for future drought risk but that such benefits may be regional and in some cases highly uncertain.},
doi = {10.1002/2017GL074117},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 14,
volume = 44,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 28 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Change in mean PDSI (a) from present day (1967–2016) to 1.5°C (2051–2100), (b) from present day to 2°C (2051– 2100), and (c) from 1.5°C to 2°C, as simulated by CESM. Hatching indicates differences that are not significant according to a two-sided t test (95% confidence). Boxes indicate regionsmore » used in Figures 2–4.« less

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates
    text, January 2017

    • Lehner, Flavio; Coats, Sloan John; Stocker, Thomas F.
    • Columbia University
    • DOI: 10.7916/d8087h87

    Impact of soil moisture‐climate feedbacks on CMIP5 projections: First results from the GLACE‐CMIP5 experiment
    journal, October 2013

    • Seneviratne, Sonia I.; Wilhelm, Micah; Stanelle, Tanja
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, Issue 19
    • DOI: 10.1002/grl.50956

    A scPDSI-based global data set of dry and wet spells for 1901-2009: VARIATIONS IN THE SELF-CALIBRATING PDSI
    journal, May 2013

    • van der Schrier, G.; Barichivich, J.; Briffa, K. R.
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 118, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50355

    Global characteristics of pluvial and dry multi-year episodes, with emphasis on megadroughts
    journal, June 2010

    • Hunt, B. G.
    • International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 31, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1002/joc.2166

    North American megadroughts in the Common Era: reconstructions and simulations: North American megadroughts in the Common Era
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    • Cook, Benjamin I.; Cook, Edward R.; Smerdon, Jason E.
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    • DOI: 10.1002/wcc.394

    Drought under global warming: a review: Drought under global warming
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    • Dai, Aiguo
    • Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, Vol. 2, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1002/wcc.81

    Global warming and 21st century drying
    journal, March 2014


    Pattern scaling: Its strengths and limitations, and an update on the latest model simulations
    journal, January 2014


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    journal, February 2016


    North American drought: Reconstructions, causes, and consequences
    journal, March 2007


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    journal, August 2016


    Little change in global drought over the past 60 years
    journal, November 2012

    • Sheffield, Justin; Wood, Eric F.; Roderick, Michael L.
    • Nature, Vol. 491, Issue 7424
    • DOI: 10.1038/nature11575

    Robust spatially aggregated projections of climate extremes
    journal, November 2013

    • Fischer, E. M.; Beyerle, U.; Knutti, R.
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, Issue 12
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2051

    Global warming and changes in drought
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    • Trenberth, Kevin E.; Dai, Aiguo; van der Schrier, Gerard
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 4, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2067

    Projected strengthening of Amazonian dry season by constrained climate model simulations
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    • Boisier, Juan P.; Ciais, Philippe; Ducharne, Agnès
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 5, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2658

    Causes of change in Northern Hemisphere winter meridional winds and regional hydroclimate
    journal, September 2015

    • Simpson, Isla R.; Seager, Richard; Ting, Mingfang
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2783

    Potential evapotranspiration and continental drying
    journal, June 2016


    Half a degree and rapid socioeconomic development matter for heatwave risk
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    Simulation of Sahel drought in the 20th and 21st centuries
    journal, December 2005

    • Held, I. M.; Delworth, T. L.; Lu, J.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, Issue 50
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0509057102

    Hydrological droughts in the 21st century, hotspots and uncertainties from a global multimodel ensemble experiment
    journal, December 2013

    • Prudhomme, Christel; Giuntoli, Ignazio; Robinson, Emma L.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222473110

    Projections of future meteorological drought and wet periods in the Amazon
    journal, October 2015

    • Duffy, Philip B.; Brando, Paulo; Asner, Gregory P.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 112, Issue 43
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1421010112

    Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought
    journal, March 2015

    • Kelley, Colin P.; Mohtadi, Shahrzad; Cane, Mark A.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 112, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1421533112

    Anthropogenic warming has increased drought risk in California
    journal, March 2015

    • Diffenbaugh, Noah S.; Swain, Daniel L.; Touma, Danielle
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 112, Issue 13
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1422385112

    Plant responses to increasing CO 2 reduce estimates of climate impacts on drought severity
    journal, August 2016

    • Swann, Abigail L. S.; Hoffman, Forrest M.; Koven, Charles D.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, Issue 36
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1604581113

    Drought indices revisited – improving and testing of drought indices in a simulation of the last two millennia for Europe
    journal, January 2017

    • Raible, Christoph C.; Bärenbold, Oliver; Gómez-navarro, Juan José
    • Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, Vol. 69, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1080/16000870.2017.1296226

    The improbable but unexceptional occurrence of megadrought clustering in the American West during the Medieval Climate Anomaly
    journal, July 2016


    Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains
    journal, February 2015

    • Cook, Benjamin I.; Ault, Toby R.; Smerdon, Jason E.
    • Science Advances, Vol. 1, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400082

    Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era
    journal, November 2015

    • Cook, Edward R.; Seager, Richard; Kushnir, Yochanan
    • Science Advances, Vol. 1, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500561

    Relative impacts of mitigation, temperature, and precipitation on 21st-century megadrought risk in the American Southwest
    journal, October 2016

    • Ault, Toby R.; Mankin, Justin S.; Cook, Benjamin I.
    • Science Advances, Vol. 2, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600873

    Past and future drought in Mongolia
    journal, March 2018

    • Hessl, Amy E.; Anchukaitis, Kevin J.; Jelsema, Casey
    • Science Advances, Vol. 4, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701832

    Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States
    journal, November 2004


    Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America
    journal, May 2007


    Asian Monsoon Failure and Megadrought During the Last Millennium
    journal, April 2010


    Anthropogenic Aerosols and the Weakening of the South Asian Summer Monsoon
    journal, September 2011


    The Closing Door of Climate Targets
    journal, November 2012


    The Community Earth System Model: A Framework for Collaborative Research
    journal, September 2013

    • Hurrell, James W.; Holland, M. M.; Gent, P. R.
    • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 94, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-12-00121.1

    The Community Earth System Model (CESM) Large Ensemble Project: A Community Resource for Studying Climate Change in the Presence of Internal Climate Variability
    journal, August 2015

    • Kay, J. E.; Deser, C.; Phillips, A.
    • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 96, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-13-00255.1

    Robust Responses of the Hydrological Cycle to Global Warming
    journal, November 2006

    • Held, Isaac M.; Soden, Brian J.
    • Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, Issue 21
    • DOI: 10.1175/jcli3990.1

    Differential climate impacts for policy-relevant limits to global warming: the case of 1.5 °C and 2 °C
    journal, January 2016

    • Schleussner, Carl-Friedrich; Lissner, Tabea K.; Fischer, Erich M.
    • Earth System Dynamics, Vol. 7, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.5194/esd-7-327-2016

    Elusive drought: uncertainty in observed trends and short- and long-term CMIP5 projections
    journal, January 2013


    Potential impacts of specific global warming levels on extreme rainfall events over southern Africa in CORDEX and NEX‐GDDP ensembles
    journal, December 2019

    • Abiodun, Babatunde J.; Mogebisa, Tlakale O.; Petja, Brilliant
    • International Journal of Climatology
    • DOI: 10.1002/joc.6386

    Potential impacts of specific global warming levels on extreme rainfall events over southern Africa in CORDEX and NEX‐GDDP ensembles
    journal, December 2019

    • Abiodun, Babatunde J.; Mogebisa, Tlakale O.; Petja, Brilliant
    • International Journal of Climatology
    • DOI: 10.1002/joc.6386

    Half a degree and rapid socioeconomic development matter for heatwave risk
    journal, January 2019


    Past and future drought in Mongolia
    journal, March 2018

    • Hessl, Amy E.; Anchukaitis, Kevin J.; Jelsema, Casey
    • Science Advances, Vol. 4, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701832

      Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.