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Climate change and drought: the soil moisture perspective

Climate change and drought: the soil moisture perspective
Climate change and drought: the soil moisture perspective

Purpose of review: We review the extensive and sometimes conflicting recent literature on drought changes under global warming. We focus on soil moisture deficits, which are indicative of associated impacts on ecosystems. Soil moisture is a key state variable of the land surface, reflecting complex interactions between the water, energy, and carbon cycles. Recent findings: Offline projections relying on soil moisture proxy metrics indicate dramatic future drought increases, often interpreted as primarily driven by warming-induced increases in evaporative demand. However, such results appear inconsistent with other trends in the land–atmosphere system, including soil moisture, vegetation, and evapotranspiration. Recent studies begin to explain these discrepancies, highlighting the importance of soil–vegetation–atmosphere coupling, unaccounted for in offline projections. Summary: Future changes in soil moisture droughts should preferably be assessed with prognostic model outputs rather than offline heuristics and be interpreted in the context of the coupled soil–vegetation–atmosphere system.

Climate change, Drought, Soil moisture
2198-6061
180-191
Berg, Alexis
78bd0eda-314b-4474-bc3c-a4a8b3a4f2a4
Sheffield, Justin
dd66575b-a4dc-4190-ad95-df2d6aaaaa6b
Berg, Alexis
78bd0eda-314b-4474-bc3c-a4a8b3a4f2a4
Sheffield, Justin
dd66575b-a4dc-4190-ad95-df2d6aaaaa6b

Berg, Alexis and Sheffield, Justin (2018) Climate change and drought: the soil moisture perspective. Current Climate Change Reports, 4 (2), 180-191. (doi:10.1007/s40641-018-0095-0).

Record type: Review

Abstract

Purpose of review: We review the extensive and sometimes conflicting recent literature on drought changes under global warming. We focus on soil moisture deficits, which are indicative of associated impacts on ecosystems. Soil moisture is a key state variable of the land surface, reflecting complex interactions between the water, energy, and carbon cycles. Recent findings: Offline projections relying on soil moisture proxy metrics indicate dramatic future drought increases, often interpreted as primarily driven by warming-induced increases in evaporative demand. However, such results appear inconsistent with other trends in the land–atmosphere system, including soil moisture, vegetation, and evapotranspiration. Recent studies begin to explain these discrepancies, highlighting the importance of soil–vegetation–atmosphere coupling, unaccounted for in offline projections. Summary: Future changes in soil moisture droughts should preferably be assessed with prognostic model outputs rather than offline heuristics and be interpreted in the context of the coupled soil–vegetation–atmosphere system.

Text
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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 21 April 2018
Published date: 1 June 2018
Keywords: Climate change, Drought, Soil moisture

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 424478
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/424478
ISSN: 2198-6061
PURE UUID: 4d0ff424-8394-4175-85a1-5d7c4b095bcd
ORCID for Justin Sheffield: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2400-0630

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Oct 2018 11:37
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:31

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