Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1702
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1702
13 Jun 2024
 | 13 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

HESS Opinion: Floods and droughts – Land use, soil management, and landscape hydrology are more significant drivers than increasing temperatures

Karl Auerswald, Juergen Geist, John N. Quinton, and Peter Fiener

Abstract. Floods, droughts, and heatwaves are increasing globally. This is typically attributed to CO2-driven climate change. However, at the global scale, CO2-driven climate change neither reduces precipitation nor adequately explains droughts despite the modest increase in evapotranspiration due to temperature rise. Past land-use changes, particularly soil sealing, compaction, and drainage, are likely more significant for water losses by runoff leading to flooding and water scarcity. The importance of these processes is generally poorly addressed in modeling because hydrological models rarely reflect lateral fluxes in the atmosphere, on the soil surface, and in the soil. Land use is only considered in coarse categories, and neighborhood effects and feedback mechanisms are neglected. However, even if models fail and if we cannot create landscape experiments, there is sufficient evidence that land use is an important part of the problem and of the solution to mitigate floods, droughts, and heatwaves. Addressing land-use changes is imperative as they persist even with zero net CO2 emissions, making the world more vulnerable.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Karl Auerswald, Juergen Geist, John N. Quinton, and Peter Fiener

Status: open (until 16 Aug 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • AC1: 'Egusphere-2024-1702 - Supplementary material', John Quinton, 18 Jun 2024 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1702', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Jul 2024 reply
    • RC2: 'Reply on RC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Jul 2024 reply
Karl Auerswald, Juergen Geist, John N. Quinton, and Peter Fiener
Karl Auerswald, Juergen Geist, John N. Quinton, and Peter Fiener

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Short summary
Floods, droughts, and heatwaves are increasing globally. This is often attributed to CO2-driven climate change. However, at the global scale, CO2-driven climate change neither reduces precipitation nor adequately explains droughts. Land-use change, particularly soil sealing, compaction, and drainage, are likely more significant for water losses by runoff leading to flooding and water scarcity and are therefore an important part the solution to mitigate floods, droughts, and heatwaves.