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Consistent trends in dry spell length in recent observations and future projections

Wainwright, C. M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7311-7846, Allan, R. P. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0264-9447 and Black, E. (2022) Consistent trends in dry spell length in recent observations and future projections. Geophysical Research Letters, 49 (12). ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2021GL097231

Abstract/Summary

We identify global observed changes in dry-spell characteristics that are consistent with future projections and involve common physical drivers. Future projections of longer dry spells in the dry season increase vegetation water stress and can negatively impact perennial vegetation. Lengthening dry season dry spells of up to ∼2 days per decade over South America and southern Africa and shortening of similar magnitude over West Africa display a qualitatively consistent pattern to future projected changes under the SSP2-4.5 intermediate greenhouse gas emissions scenario. By combining a range of present-day climate model experiments, recent trends are linked with both natural and human-caused drivers. Longer dry season dry spells over South America are associated with relative warming of North Atlantic sea surface temperatures and amplified warming over land compared with adjacent oceans; both of which are projected to continue under further warming, suggesting a common driver for recent trends and future projections.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:105407
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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