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Different types of drought under climate change or geoengineering: systematic review of societal implications

Coughlan de Perez, E., Fuentes, I., Jack, C., Kruczkiewicz, A., Pinto, I. and Stephens, E. (2022) Different types of drought under climate change or geoengineering: systematic review of societal implications. Frontiers in climate, 4. 959519. ISSN 2624-9553

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3389/fclim.2022.959519


Climate change and solar geoengineering have different implications for drought. Climate change can “speed up” the hydrological cycle, but it causesgreater evapotranspiration than the historical climate because of higher temperatures. Solar geoengineering (stratospheric aerosol injection), on the other hand, tends to “slow down” the hydrological cycle while reducing potential evapotranspiration. There are two common definitions of drought that take this into account; rainfall-only (SPI) and potential-evapotranspiration (SPEI). In different regions of Africa, this can result in different versions of droughts for each scenario, with drier rainfall (SPI) droughts under geoengineering and drier potential-evapotranspiration (SPEI) droughts under climate change. However, the societal implications of these different types of drought are not clear. We present a systematic review of all papers comparing the relationship between real-world outcomes (streamflow, vegetation, and agricultural yields) with these two definitions of drought in Africa. We also correlate the two drought definitions (SPI and SPEI) with historical vegetation conditions across the continent. We find that potential-evapotranspiration-droughts (SPEI) tend to be more closely related with vegetation conditions, while rainfall-droughts (SPI) tend to be more closely related with streamflows across Africa. In many regions, adaptation plans are likely to be affected differently by these two drought types. In parts of East Africa and coastal West Africa, geoengineering could exacerbate both types of drought, which has implications for current investments in water infrastructure. The reverse is true in parts of Southern Africa. In the Sahel, sectors more sensitive to rainfall-drought (SPI), such as reservoir management, could see reduced water availability under solar geoengineering, while sectors more sensitive to potential-evapotranspiration-drought (SPEI), such as rainfed agriculture, could see increased water availability under solar geoengineering. Given that the implications of climate change and solar geoengineering futures are different in different regions and also for different sectors, we recommend that deliberations on solar geoengineering include the widest possible representation of stakeholders.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:108297


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