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Title: Land–atmosphere feedbacks exacerbate concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity

Abstract

Compound extremes such as cooccurring soil drought (low soil moisture) and atmospheric aridity (high vapor pressure deficit) can be disastrous for natural and societal systems. Soil drought and atmospheric aridity are 2 main physiological stressors driving widespread vegetation mortality and reduced terrestrial carbon uptake. Here, we empirically demonstrate that strong negative coupling between soil moisture and vapor pressure deficit occurs globally, indicating high probability of cooccurring soil drought and atmospheric aridity. Using the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5 experiment, we further show that concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity are greatly exacerbated by land–atmosphere feedbacks. The feedback of soil drought on the atmosphere is largely responsible for enabling atmospheric aridity extremes. In addition, the soil moisture–precipitation feedback acts to amplify precipitation and soil moisture deficits in most regions. CMIP5 models further show that the frequency of concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity enhanced by land–atmosphere feedbacks is projected to increase in the 21st century. Significantly, land–atmosphere feedbacks will greatly increase the intensity of both soil drought and atmospheric aridity beyond that expected from changes in mean climate alone.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [1];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5];  [5];  [1]
  1. Columbia Univ., Palisades, NY (United States)
  2. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
  3. Columbia Univ., Palisades, NY (United States); NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies, New York, NY (United States)
  4. Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (Germany)
  5. Inst. for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Zürich (Switzerland)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1581364
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 116; Journal Issue: 38; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; soil moisture; vapor pressure deficit; compound extreme events; GLACE-CMIP5

Citation Formats

Zhou, Sha, Williams, A. Park, Berg, Alexis M., Cook, Benjamin I., Zhang, Yao, Hagemann, Stefan, Lorenz, Ruth, Seneviratne, Sonia I., and Gentine, Pierre. Land–atmosphere feedbacks exacerbate concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1904955116.
Zhou, Sha, Williams, A. Park, Berg, Alexis M., Cook, Benjamin I., Zhang, Yao, Hagemann, Stefan, Lorenz, Ruth, Seneviratne, Sonia I., & Gentine, Pierre. Land–atmosphere feedbacks exacerbate concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity. United States. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1904955116
Zhou, Sha, Williams, A. Park, Berg, Alexis M., Cook, Benjamin I., Zhang, Yao, Hagemann, Stefan, Lorenz, Ruth, Seneviratne, Sonia I., and Gentine, Pierre. Tue . "Land–atmosphere feedbacks exacerbate concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity". United States. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1904955116. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1581364.
@article{osti_1581364,
title = {Land–atmosphere feedbacks exacerbate concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity},
author = {Zhou, Sha and Williams, A. Park and Berg, Alexis M. and Cook, Benjamin I. and Zhang, Yao and Hagemann, Stefan and Lorenz, Ruth and Seneviratne, Sonia I. and Gentine, Pierre},
abstractNote = {Compound extremes such as cooccurring soil drought (low soil moisture) and atmospheric aridity (high vapor pressure deficit) can be disastrous for natural and societal systems. Soil drought and atmospheric aridity are 2 main physiological stressors driving widespread vegetation mortality and reduced terrestrial carbon uptake. Here, we empirically demonstrate that strong negative coupling between soil moisture and vapor pressure deficit occurs globally, indicating high probability of cooccurring soil drought and atmospheric aridity. Using the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5 experiment, we further show that concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity are greatly exacerbated by land–atmosphere feedbacks. The feedback of soil drought on the atmosphere is largely responsible for enabling atmospheric aridity extremes. In addition, the soil moisture–precipitation feedback acts to amplify precipitation and soil moisture deficits in most regions. CMIP5 models further show that the frequency of concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity enhanced by land–atmosphere feedbacks is projected to increase in the 21st century. Significantly, land–atmosphere feedbacks will greatly increase the intensity of both soil drought and atmospheric aridity beyond that expected from changes in mean climate alone.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1904955116},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 38,
volume = 116,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

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