Projection of drought hazards in China during twenty-first century

Abstract

Drought is occurring with increased frequency under climate warming. To understand the behavior of drought and its variation in the future, current and future drought in the twenty-first century over China is discussed. The drought frequency and trend of drought intensity are assessed using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which is calculated based on historical meteorological observations and outputs of the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) under three representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios. The simulation results of drought period, defined by PDSI class, could capture more than 90% of historical drought events. Projection results indicate that drought frequency will increase over China in the twenty-first century under the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios. In the mid-twenty-first century (2021–2050), similar patterns of drought frequency are found under the three emission scenarios, and annual drought duration would last 3.5–4 months. At the end of the twenty-first century (2071–2100), annual drought duration could exceed 5 months in northwestern China as well as coastal areas of eastern and southern China under the RCP8.5 scenario. Drought is slightly reduced over the entire twenty-first century under the RCP2.6 scenario, whereas drought hazards will be more serious in most regions of China under the RCP8.5 scenario.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi, China (Grant No. 2014GXNSFBA118094 and 2015GXNSFAA139243), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41565005 and 41401037), the major Science and Technology Project of Guangxi, China (Grant No. GKAB16380267), the Guangxi Refined Forecast Service Innovation Team, and the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (Grant No. 2012CB95570003). We wish to thank the editors and reviewers for their invaluable comments and constructive suggestions to improve the quality of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yongli Wang.

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Liang, Y., Wang, Y., Yan, X. et al. Projection of drought hazards in China during twenty-first century. Theor Appl Climatol 133, 331–341 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-017-2189-3

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