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The Future of Drought in the Southeastern U.S.: Projections from Downscaled CMIP5 Models

Department of Geography, University of Alabama, 204 Farrah Hall, P.O. Box 870322, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0322, USA
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Water 2019, 11(2), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020259
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 2 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Floods and Droughts under Future Climate Scenarios)
After being repeatedly struck by droughts in the last few decades, water managers and stakeholders in the Southeast U.S. dread the future extremes that climate change might cause. In this study, the length of future dry periods is assessed using a sub-ensemble of downscaled CMIP5 climate models, which are proven to perform well in precipitation estimations. The length of a dry spell with a twenty-year return period is estimated for the cold and warm seasons for two time periods; 2020–2059 and 2060–2099, and considering two emission scenarios: RCP 4.5 and 8.5. The estimates are then compared with historical dry spells and differences in length and geospatial distribution analyzed. Based on the findings of this paper, little change can be expected in dry spell length during the warm season. Greater changes are to be expected in the cold season in the southern half of Florida, where dry spells are expected to be up to twenty days shorter, while dry spells in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee are predicted to be up to twenty days longer. The changes predicted by the models are positively associated with emission trajectory and future time period. View Full-Text
Keywords: consecutive dry days; climate; downscaled projections; Southeast U.S.; CMIP5 consecutive dry days; climate; downscaled projections; Southeast U.S.; CMIP5
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Keellings, D.; Engström, J. The Future of Drought in the Southeastern U.S.: Projections from Downscaled CMIP5 Models. Water 2019, 11, 259.

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