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What Drought Science Says about Drought Predictions and Projections. Christopher J. Anderson, PhD Assistant Director, Climate Science Program Iowa State University. Midwest Climate Collaboration Meeting 21-22 August 2012. 2012 Drought Resembles Past Droughts.

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what drought science says about drought predictions and projections

What Drought Science Says about Drought Predictions and Projections

Christopher J. Anderson, PhD

Assistant Director, Climate Science Program

Iowa State University

Midwest Climate Collaboration Meeting

21-22 August 2012

2012 drought a large departure from recent trends
2012 Drought: A large departure from recent trends
  • Recent June-August maximum temperature has been below the 20th Century average.
  • Recent June-August rainfall has been above the 20th Century average.
expect sea surface temperature to change
Expect Sea Surface Temperature to Change
  • If we project decadal changes using historical performance, then… AMO becomes negative 2025-2030.
expect sea surface temperature to change1
Expect Sea Surface Temperature to Change
  • If we project decadal changes using historical performance, then… PDO becomes positive 2020-2025.
caveat 2020 and beyond has larger uncertainty
Caveat: 2020 and Beyond has Larger Uncertainty
  • While historical performance is the best available guidance for 2020-2030, a systematic approach for blending recent trends and past performance is lacking.
    • How closely will 2020-2030 resemble the past given the recent trends?
caveat 2020 and beyond has larger uncertainty1
Caveat: 2020 and Beyond has Larger Uncertainty
  • While historical performance is the best available guidance for 2020-2030, a systematic approach for blending recent trends and past performance is lacking.
    • How closely will 2020-2030 resemble the past?
  • Beyond 2030, the warming climate will have an increasingly greater impact on variability and the range of possible conditions is broader.
good news seasonal predictions of summer drought are more skillful
Good News: Seasonal Predictions of Summer Drought are more skillful
  • Skill of June-August forecast made with NOAA CFSv2 is 0.7-0.8.

Wei et al. (J. Appl. Meteor. Clim. 2012)

slide15

Improvements in Seasonal Forecasts mayenable tests of adaptive strategiesAdaption: Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

resistance resilience transformation adaptation framework
Resistance-Resilience-Transformation Adaptation Framework

Resistance Strategies

Maintain the status quo over the near term through management that builds resistance to climate change

Resilience Strategies

Longer-term actions that build adaptive capacity by improving the system’s ability to moderate effects of climate

Transformation Strategies

Increase adaptive capacity by facilitating the transition to a new system with different structure and function better adapted

U. S. Forest Service, 2010

development of adaptive actions for agriculture
Development of Adaptive Actions for Agriculture
  • La Niña means risk of yield loss is higher.
  • La Niña forecasts provide 3 to 6 months advanced guidance for crop insurance and crop variety selections.
    • Resistance Adaptation
slide18

The 2012 Drought with Heat Wave is evidence that the combination of natural and forced climate changes will amplify year-to-year variability in the Midwest.

  • Resistance adaptation strategies may be tested with existing seasonal forecasts due to new predictive capabilities for seasonal drought forecasts.
  • Resilience and transformative strategies require development of novel projection techniques to infer potential changes in year-to-year variability.