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Drought in the Twenty-First Century in a Water-Rich Region: Modeling Study of the Wabash River Watershed, USA

1
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
2
College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI 54481, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(1), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010181
Received: 17 December 2019 / Revised: 3 January 2020 / Accepted: 4 January 2020 / Published: 8 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
Climate change is expected to alter drought regimes across North America throughout the twenty-first century, and, consequently, future drought risk may not resemble the past. To explore the implications of nonstationary drought risk, this study combined a calibrated, regional-scale hydrological model with statistically downscaled climate projections and standardized drought indices to identify intra-annual patterns in the response of meteorological, soil moisture, and hydrological drought to climate change. We focus on a historically water-rich, highly agricultural watershed in the US Midwest—the Wabash River Basin. The results show likely increases in the frequency of soil moisture and hydrological drought, despite minimal changes in the frequency of meteorological drought. We use multiple linear regression models to interpret these results in the context of climate warming and show that increasing temperatures amplify soil moisture and hydrological drought, with the same amount of precipitation yielding significantly lower soil moisture and significantly lower runoff in the future than in the past. The novel methodology presented in this study can be transferred to other regions and used to understand how the relationship between meteorological drought and soil moisture/hydrological drought will change under continued climate warming.
Keywords: climate change; drought; SWAT; streamflow; soil moisture climate change; drought; SWAT; streamflow; soil moisture
MDPI and ACS Style

Dierauer, J.R.; Zhu, C. Drought in the Twenty-First Century in a Water-Rich Region: Modeling Study of the Wabash River Watershed, USA. Water 2020, 12, 181.

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