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Climate 2015, 3(4), 999-1017; doi:10.3390/cli3040999

Utilizing Humidity and Temperature Data to Advance Monitoring and Prediction of Meteorological Drought

1
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
2
Department of Geography, Portland State University, Portland, OR 97201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christina Anagnostopoulou
Received: 18 September 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 12 November 2015 / Published: 18 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Extremes: Observations and Impacts)
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Abstract

The fraction of land area over the Continental United States experiencing extreme hot and dry conditions has been increasing over the past several decades, consistent with expectation from anthropogenic climate change. A clear concurrent change in precipitation, however, has not been confirmed. Vapor pressure deficit (VPD), combining temperature and humidity, is utilized here as an indicator of the background atmospheric conditions associated with meteorological drought. Furthermore, atmospheric conditions associated with warm season drought events are assessed by partitioning associated VPD anomalies into the temperature and humidity components. This approach suggests that the concurrence of anomalously high temperature and low humidity was an important driver of the rapid development and evolution of the exceptionally severe 2011 Texas and the 2012 Great Plains droughts. By classification of a decade of extreme drought events and tracking them back in time, it was found that near surface atmospheric temperature and humidity add essential information to the commonly used precipitation-based drought indicators and can advance efforts to determine the timing of drought onset and its severity. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; temperature; water vapor; humidity drought; temperature; water vapor; humidity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Behrangi, A.; Loikith, P.C.; Fetzer, E.J.; Nguyen, H.M.; Granger, S.L. Utilizing Humidity and Temperature Data to Advance Monitoring and Prediction of Meteorological Drought. Climate 2015, 3, 999-1017.

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