Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-5
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-5

  11 Feb 2021

11 Feb 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Space-time dependence of compound hot-dry events in the United States: assessment using a multi-site multi-variable weather generator

Manuela I. Brunner, Eric Gilleland, and Andrew W. Wood Manuela I. Brunner et al.
  • Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 3450 Mitchell Ln, Boulder, CO 80301, USA

Abstract. Compound hot and dry events can lead to severe impacts whose severity may depend on their time scale and spatial extent. Despite their potential importance, the climatological characteristics of these joint events have received little attention regardless of growing interest in climate change impacts on compound events. Here, we ask how event time scale relates to (1) spatial patterns of compound hot-dry events in the United States, (2) the spatial extent of compound hot-dry events, and (3) the importance of temperature and precipitation as drivers of compound event occurrence. To study such rare spatial and multivariate events, we introduce a multi-site multi-variable weather generator (PRSim.weather), which enables generation of a large number of spatial compound hot-dry events. We show that the stochastic model realistically simulates distributional and temporal autocorrelation characteristics of temperature and precipitation at single sites, dependencies between the two variables, spatial correlation patterns, and spatial heat and drought indicators and their co-occurrence probabilities. The results of our compound event analysis demonstrate that (1) the Northwestern and Southeastern United States are most susceptible to compound hot-dry events independent of time scale and susceptibility decreases with increasing time scale, (2) the spatial extent and time scale of compound events are strongly related with sub-seasonal events (1–3 months) showing the largest spatial extents, and (3) the importance of temperature and precipitation as drivers of compound events varies with time scale where temperature is most important at short and precipitation at seasonal time scales. We conclude that time scale is an important factor to be considered in compound event assessments and suggest that climate change impact assessments should consider several instead of a single time scale when looking at future changes in compound event characteristics. The largest future changes may be expected for short compound events because of their strong relation to temperature.

Manuela I. Brunner et al.

Status: open (until 26 Mar 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on esd-2021-5', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Feb 2021 reply

Manuela I. Brunner et al.

Model code and software

PRSim: Stochastic Simulation of Streamflow Time Series using Phase Randomization Manuela Brunner and Reinhard Furrer https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/PRSim/

Manuela I. Brunner et al.

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Short summary
Compound hot and dry events can lead to severe impacts whose severity may depend on their time scale and spatial extent. Here, we show that the spatial extent and time scale of compound hot-dry events are strongly related, spatial compound event extents are largest at sub-seasonal time scales, and short events are driven more by high temperatures while longer events are more driven by low precipitation. Future climate impacts studies should therefore be performed at different time scales.
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