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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-79
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-79
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  06 Jul 2020

06 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Dynamics of the Mediterranean droughts from 850 to 2099 AD in the Community Earth System Model

Woon Mi Kim1,2 and Christoph C. Raible1,2 Woon Mi Kim and Christoph C. Raible
  • 1Climate and Environmental Physics, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. In this study, we analyze the dynamics of multi-year long droughts over the western and central Mediterranean region for the period of 850–2099 AD using the Community Earth System model version 1.0.1. Our study indicates that Mediterranean droughts during the period of 850–1849 AD are mainly driven by the internal variability of the climate system. A barotropic high pressure system together with a positive temperature anomaly over central Europe and the Mediterranean is the prominent pattern that occurs in all seasons with droughts. Modes of variability, i.e. the North Atlantic Oscillation and El Niño Southern-Oscillation, play an important role at the initial stage of droughts. However, the persistence of multi-year droughts is determined by the interaction between the regional atmospheric and soil moisture variables. This interaction becomes stronger during the 1850–2099 AD period, reducing the importance of modes of variability and inducing a constant dryness over the Mediterranean region. Additionally, the discrepancy among diverse drought metrics in representing past droughts is shown, re-affirming the necessity of assessing a variety of drought indices even in the paleoclimate context.

Woon Mi Kim and Christoph C. Raible

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Woon Mi Kim and Christoph C. Raible

Woon Mi Kim and Christoph C. Raible

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Short summary
The Mediterranean region has experienced increases in the severity and frequency of droughts since the pre-industrial era, together with the anthropogenic increase in the greenhouse gases. Our study based on a model simulation indicates that the region has already experienced some long-lasting multi-year droughts induced by the interaction of global and regional climate components during the last millennium. We also found that the causes of these droughts depend on their stage of evolution.
The Mediterranean region has experienced increases in the severity and frequency of droughts...
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