Robust Future Changes in Meteorological Drought in CMIP6 Projections Despite Uncertainty in Precipitation

Anna M. Ukkola*, Martin G. De Kauwe, Michael L. Roderick, Gab Abramowitz, Andrew J. Pitman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quantifying how climate change drives drought is a priority to inform policy and adaptation planning. We show that the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) simulations project coherent regional patterns in meteorological drought for two emissions scenarios to 2100. We find robust projected changes in seasonal drought duration and frequency (robust over >45% of the global land area), despite a lack of agreement across models in projected changes in mean precipitation (24% of the land area). Future drought changes are larger and more consistent in CMIP6 compared to CMIP5. We find regionalized increases and decreases in drought duration and frequency that are driven by changes in both precipitation mean and variability. Conversely, drought intensity increases over most regions but is not simulated well historically by the climate models. The more robust projections of meteorological drought compared to mean precipitation in CMIP6 provides significant new opportunities for water resource planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL087820
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CE170100023). M.?D.?K. acknowledges support from the NSW Research Attraction and Acceleration Program, and M.?D.?K. and A.?J.?P. also acknowledge the ARC Discovery Grant (DP190101823). We are grateful to the National Computational Infrastructure at the Australian National University and the Earth System Grid Federation for making the CMIP6 and CMIP5 model outputs available. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme, which, through its Working Group on Coupled Modelling, coordinated and promoted CMIP6 and CMIP5. We thank the climate modeling groups for producing and making available their model output, the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) for archiving the data and providing access, and the multiple funding agencies who support CMIP6, CMIP5, and ESGF. The CMIP6 and CMIP5 outputs used in this study are available from the Earth System Grid Federation (https://esgf-node.llnl.gov). The observed precipitation data sets can be obtained from CRU (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/data/), GPCC (https://www.dwd.de/EN/ourservices/gpcc/gpcc.html), and REGEN (https://researchdata.ands.org.au/rainfall-estimates-gridded-v1-2019/1408744/). The analysis codes are available online (https://github.com/aukkola/CMIP5_on_NCI and https://bitbucket.org/aukkola/cmip6_drought_projections).

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CE170100023). M. D. K. acknowledges support from the NSW Research Attraction and Acceleration Program, and M. D. K. and A. J. P. also acknowledge the ARC Discovery Grant (DP190101823). We are grateful to the National Computational Infrastructure at the Australian National University and the Earth System Grid Federation for making the CMIP6 and CMIP5 model outputs available. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme, which, through its Working Group on Coupled Modelling, coordinated and promoted CMIP6 and CMIP5. We thank the climate modeling groups for producing and making available their model output, the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) for archiving the data and providing access, and the multiple funding agencies who support CMIP6, CMIP5, and ESGF. The CMIP6 and CMIP5 outputs used in this study are available from the Earth System Grid Federation ( https://esgf-node.llnl.gov ). The observed precipitation data sets can be obtained from CRU ( http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/data/ ), GPCC ( https://www.dwd.de/EN/ourservices/gpcc/gpcc.html ), and REGEN ( https://researchdata.ands.org.au/rainfall-estimates-gridded-v1-2019/1408744/ ). The analysis codes are available online ( https://github.com/aukkola/CMIP5_on_NCI and https://bitbucket.org/aukkola/cmip6_drought_projections ).

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • CMIP6
  • drought
  • precipitation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Robust Future Changes in Meteorological Drought in CMIP6 Projections Despite Uncertainty in Precipitation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this