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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2017-85
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
03 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Global meteorological drought and severe drought affected population in 1.5 °C and 2 °C warmer worlds
Wenbin Liu1, Fubao Sun1,2,3,4, Wee Ho Lim1,5, Jie Zhang1, Hong Wang1, Hideo Shiogama6, and Yuqing Zhang7 1Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
2Ecology Institute of Qilian Mountain, Hexi University, Zhangye, China
3College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
4Center for Water Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
5Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
6Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
7College of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
Abstract. In Paris Agreement of 2015, a more ambitious climate change mitigation target, on limiting the global warming at 1.5 °C instead of 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, has been proposed. Scientific investigations are necessary to investigate environmental risks associated with these warming targets. This study is the first risk-based assessment of changes in global meteorological drought and the impact of severe drought on population at 1.5 °C and 2 °C additional warming conditions using the CMIP5 (the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) climate models. Our results highlight the risk of meteorological drought at the globe and in several hotspot regions such as Amazon, Northeastern Brazil, South Africa and Central Europe at both 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming relative to the historical period. Correspondingly, more people would be exposed to severe droughts in many regions (i.e., total and urban population in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Europe and rural population in Central Asia, South Africa and South Asia). By keeping the warming at 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial levels instead of 2 °C, the risks of meteorological drought would decrease (i.e., less drought duration, drought intensity and drought severity but relatively more frequent severe drought) and the affected total and urban population would decrease (the exposed rural population would increase in most regions) at global and sub-continental scales. Whilst challenging for the rural areas, the benefits of limiting warming to below 1.5 °C are significant for reducing the risks and societal impacts of global meteorological drought.

Citation: Liu, W., Sun, F., Lim, W. H., Zhang, J., Wang, H., Shiogama, H., and Zhang, Y.: Global meteorological drought and severe drought affected population in 1.5 °C and 2 °C warmer worlds, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2017-85, in review, 2017.
Wenbin Liu et al.
Wenbin Liu et al.
Wenbin Liu et al.

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Short summary
This study is the first risk-based assessment of changes in global meteorological drought at 1.5 °C and 2 °C warmer worlds using CMIP5 models. By keeping the warming at 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial levels instead of 2 °C, the risks of meteorological drought and the affected total and urban population would decrease at global and regional scales. Whilst challenging for the rural areas, the benefits of limiting warming to below 1.5 °C are significant for reducing the drought-related risks.
This study is the first risk-based assessment of changes in global meteorological drought at...
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