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Future changes in wet and dry season characteristics in CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations

Wainwright, Caroline M. ORCID:, Black, Emily and Allan, Richard P. 2021. Future changes in wet and dry season characteristics in CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations. Journal of Hydrometeorology 22 (9) , 2339–2357. 10.1175/jhm-d-21-0017.1

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Climate change will result in more dry days and longer dry spells; however, the resulting impacts on crop growth depend on the timing of these longer dry spells in the annual cycle. Using an ensemble of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 and phase 6 (CMIP5 and CMIP6) simulations, and a range of emission scenarios, here we examine changes in wet and dry spell characteristics under future climate change across the extended tropics in wet and dry seasons separately. Delays in the wet seasons by up to 2 weeks are projected by 2070–99 across South America, southern Africa, West Africa, and the Sahel. An increase in both mean and maximum dry spell length during the dry season is found across Central and South America, southern Africa, and Australia, with a reduction in dry season rainfall also found in these regions. Mean dry season dry spell lengths increase by 5–10 days over northeast South America and southwest Africa. However, changes in dry spell length during the wet season are much smaller across the tropics with limited model consensus. Mean dry season maximum temperature increases are found to be up to 3°C higher than mean wet season maximum temperature increases over South America, southern Africa, and parts of Asia. Longer dry spells, fewer wet days, and higher temperatures during the dry season may lead to increasing dry season aridity and have detrimental consequences for perennial crops.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
ISSN: 1525-755X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 January 2023
Date of Acceptance: 24 June 2021
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 16:30

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