02 Aug 2022
 | 02 Aug 2022

Assessing decadal to centennial scale nonstationary variability in meteorological drought trends

Kyungmin Sung, Max Carl Arne Torbenson, and James H. Stagge

Abstract. There are indications that the reference climatology underlying meteorological drought has shown non-stationarity at seasonal, decadal, and centennial time scales, impacting the interpretation of normalized drought indices and potentially producing serious ecological, economic, and social consequences. Analyzing these trends in the meteorological drought climatology beyond the 100-year observation period contributes to a better understanding of the non-stationary changes, ultimately determining whether they are within the range of natural variability or outside this range. To accomplish this, our study introduces a novel approach to incorporate unevenly scaled tree-ring proxy data (NASPA) with instrumental precipitation datasets by first temporal downscaling the proxy data to produce a regular time series, and then modeling climate non-stationarity while simultaneously correcting model induced bias. This new modeling approach was applied to 14 sites across the continental United States using the 3-month Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) as a basis. Findings showed locations which have experienced recent rapid shifts towards drier or wetter conditions during the instrumental period compared to the past 1000 years, with drying trends generally in the west and wetting trends in the east. This study also found that seasonal shifts have occurred in some regions recently, with seasonality changes most notable for southern gauges. We expect that our new approach provides a foundation for incorporating various datasets to examine non-stationary variability in long-term precipitation climatology and to confirm the spatial patterns noted here in greater detail.

Kyungmin Sung, Max Carl Arne Torbenson, and James H. Stagge

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-476', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 Dec 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Kyungmin Sung, 30 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-476', Gregor Laaha, 12 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Kyungmin Sung, 30 Aug 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC2', Kyungmin Sung, 30 Aug 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-476', Anonymous Referee #3, 15 May 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Kyungmin Sung, 30 Aug 2023
Kyungmin Sung, Max Carl Arne Torbenson, and James H. Stagge
Kyungmin Sung, Max Carl Arne Torbenson, and James H. Stagge


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Short summary
This study is aims to analyze seasonal and long-term trend of meteorological drought trends under climate change. We merge tree-ring proxy with instrumental datasets to understand multi-centennial trends. We develop an approach for temporal downscaling from bi-annual time series to monthly scale, and develop a model for bias correction and trend analysis across all datasets. The model was applied to 14 sites in US, and found regions with recent wetting/drying trends and rapid seasonal shifts.