Publication Abstracts

Ault et al. 2016

Ault, T.R., J.S. Mankin, B.I. Cook, and J.E. Smerdon, 2016: Relative impacts of mitigation, temperature, and precipitation on 21st Century megadrought risk in the American Southwest. Sci. Adv., 2, no. 10, e1600873, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1600873.

Megadroughts are comparable in severity to the worst droughts of the 20th century, but of much longer duration. A megadrought in the American Southwest would impose unprecedented stress on the limited water resources of the area, making it critical to evaluate future risks under different climate change mitigation scenarios, as well as for different aspects of regional hydroclimate. We find changes in the mean hydroclimate state, rather than its variability, determine megadrought risk in the American Southwest. Estimates of megadrought probabilities based on precipitation alone tend to underestimate risk. Furthermore, business-as-usual emissions of greenhouse gases will drive regional warming and drying, regardless of large precipitation uncertainties. We find regional temperature increases alone push megadrought risk above 70%, 90%, or 99% by the end of the century, even if precipitation increases moderately, does not change, or decreases, respectively. While each possibility is supported by some climate model simulations, the latter is the most common outcome for the American Southwest in Climate Model Intercomparison generation models. An aggressive reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions cuts megadrought risks nearly in half.

Export citation: [ BibTeX ] [ RIS ]

BibTeX Citation

@article{au02000c,
  author={Ault, T. R. and Mankin, J. S. and Cook, B. I. and Smerdon, J. E.},
  title={Relative impacts of mitigation, temperature, and precipitation on 21st Century megadrought risk in the American Southwest},
  year={2016},
  journal={Sci. Adv.},
  volume={2},
  number={10},
  pages={e1600873},
  doi={10.1126/sciadv.1600873},
}

[ Close ]

RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - au02000c
AU  - Ault, T. R.
AU  - Mankin, J. S.
AU  - Cook, B. I.
AU  - Smerdon, J. E.
PY  - 2016
TI  - Relative impacts of mitigation, temperature, and precipitation on 21st Century megadrought risk in the American Southwest
JA  - Sci. Adv.
VL  - 2
IS  - 10
SP  - e1600873
DO  - 10.1126/sciadv.1600873
ER  -

[ Close ]

➤ Return to 2016 Publications

➤ Return to Publications Homepage