Exploring trends in wet-season precipitation and drought indices in wet, humid and dry regions

Environmental Research Letters
By: , and 



This study examines wet season droughts using eight products from the FROGS database. The study begins by evaluating wet season precipitation totals and wet day counts at seasonal and decadal time scales. While we find a high level of agreement among the products at a seasonal timescale, evaluations of 10-year variability indicate substantial non-stationary inter-product differences that make the assessment of low-frequency changes difficult, especially in data-sparse regions. Some products, however, appear more reliable than others on decadal time scales. Global time series of dry, middle, and wet region standardized precipitation index (SPI) time series indicate little coherent change. There is substantial coherence in year-to-year variations in these time series, for the better performing products, likely indicative of skill for monitoring variations at large spatial scales. During the wet season, the data do not appear to indicate wide spread global increases in precipitation, RefET or Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) values. Neither the precipitation, RefET or SPEI indicate a wide-spread regional shift towards more arid conditions. Focusing on SPEI values for dry regions during droughts, however, indicate substantial increases in dry region aridity when wet season precipitation is below normal. Dry region SPEI values during droughts have decreased by -0.2 since the 1990s. More detailed analysis in further studies will be needed to confirm this result. For wet regions, however, the majority of products appear to indicate increases in wet season precipitation, although many products perform poorly in these regions due to limited observation networks, and estimated increases vary substantially.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Exploring trends in wet-season precipitation and drought indices in wet, humid and dry regions
Series title Environmental Research Letters
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/ab4a6c
Volume 14
Issue 11
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher IOP Science
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 115002, 13 p.
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