Precipitation, temperature, and teleconnection signals across the combined North American, Monsoon Asia, and Old World Drought Atlases

Journal of Climate | Baek et al. [2017]


The tree-ring-based North American Drought Atlas (NADA), Monsoon Asia Drought Atlas (MADA), and Old World Drought Atlas (OWDA) collectively yield a near-hemispheric gridded reconstruction of hydroclimate variability over the last millennium. To test the robustness of the large-scale representation of hydroclimate variability across the drought atlases, the joint expression of seasonal climate variability and teleconnections in the NADA, MADA, and OWDA are compared against two global, observation-based PDSI products. Predominantly positive (negative) correlations are determined between seasonal precipitation (surface air temperature) and collocated tree-ring-based PDSI, with average Pearson’s correlation coefficients increasing in magnitude from boreal winter to summer. For precipitation, these correlations tend to be stronger in the boreal winter and summer when calculated for the observed PDSI record, while remaining similar for temperature. Notwithstanding these differences, the drought atlases robustly express teleconnection patterns associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). These expressions exist in the drought atlas estimates of boreal summer PDSI despite the fact that these modes of climate variability are dominant in boreal winter, with the exception of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. ENSO and NAO teleconnection patterns in the drought atlases are particularly consistent with their well-known dominant expressions in boreal winter and over the OWDA domain, respectively. Collectively, our findings confirm that the joint Northern Hemisphere drought atlases robustly reflect large-scale patterns of hydroclimate variability on seasonal to multidecadal timescales over the 20th century and are likely to provide similarly robust estimates of hydroclimate variability prior to the existence of widespread instrumental data.

Full text can be found here.


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