Aug 5, 2012

Increasing drought under global warming in observations and models

Aiguo Dai
Nature Climate Change
  • Historical records of precipitation, streamflow and drought indices all show increased aridity since 1950 over many land areas
  • Analyses of model-simulated soil moisture, drought indices, and precipitation-minus-evaporation suggest increased risk of drought in the twenty-first century
  • Shows that the models reproduce not only the influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation on drought over land, but also the observed global mean aridity trend from 1923 to 2010
  • Concludes that the observed global aridity changes up to 2010 are consistent with model predictions, which suggest severe and widespread droughts in the next 30–90 years over many land areas resulting from either decreased precipitation and/or increased evaporation