Global exposure of population and land-use to meteorological droughts under different Warming Levels and Shared Socioeconomic Pathways: A Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment-based study

Resumo

Global warming is likely to cause a progressive drought increase in some regions, but how population and natural resources will be affected is still underexplored. This study focuses on global population and land-use (forests, croplands, pastures) exposure to meteorological drought hazard in the 21st century, expressed as frequency and severity of drought events. As input, we use a large ensemble of climate simulations from the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment, population projections from the NASA-SEDAC dataset, and land-use projections from the Land-Use Harmonization 2 project for 1981–2100. The exposure to drought hazard is presented for five SSPs (SSP1-SSP5) at four Global Warming Levels (GWLs, from 1.5 to 4°C). Results show that considering only Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI; based on precipitation), the combination SSP3-GWL4 projects the largest fraction of the global population (14%) to experience an increase in drought frequency and severity (vs. 1981–2010), with this value increasing to 60% if temperature is considered (indirectly included in the Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index, SPEI). With SPEI, considering the highest GWL for each SSP, 8 (for SSP2, SSP4, and SSP5) and 11 (SSP3) billion people, that is, more than 90%, will be affected by at least one unprecedented drought. For SSP5 (fossil-fuelled development) at GWL 4°C, approximately 2·106 km2 of forests and croplands (respectively, 6 and 11%) and 1.5·106 km2 of pastures (19%) will be exposed to increased drought frequency and severity according to SPI, but for SPEI, this extent will rise to 17·106 km2 of forests (49%), 6·106 km2 of pastures (78%), and 12·106 km2 of croplands (67%), with mid-latitudes being the most affected areas. The projected likely increase of drought frequency and severity significantly increases population and land-use exposure to drought, even at low GWLs, thus extensive mitigation and adaptation efforts are needed to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

Descrição

Palavras-chave

climate projections, CORDEX, drought, global warming levels, land-use, population, socioeconomic scenarios

Como citar

International Journal of Climatology.