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Sci Total Environ. 2020 Mar 10;707:136074. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136074. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Flash droughts in the Pearl River Basin, China: Observed characteristics and future changes.

Author information

1
School of Civil Engineering and Transportation, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510641, China.; Guangdong Engineering Technology Research Center of Safety and Greenization for Water Conservancy Project, Guangzhou 510641, China.
2
School of Civil Engineering and Transportation, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510641, China.; State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China. Electronic address: xshwu@scut.edu.cn.
3
State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China.
4
Center for Water Resource and Environment, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.

Abstract

Heat wave flash drought or precipitation deficit flash drought has devastating impacts on society and the environment. This study explored the historical changes (1960-2015) of the two categories of flash drought over the Pearl River Basin (PRB) in China, and revealed how they would change in the future (2016-2100), by coupling the variable infiltration capacity mode with the global climate model under representative concentration pathway (RCP) 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5 scenarios. Our results indicate that during 1960-2015, the mid-northern PRB has experienced heat wave flash drought frequently while the western PRB suffered from precipitation deficit flash drought. In future, heat wave flash drought under RCP2.6 and 4.5 would occur mostly in the western and eastern PRB. Specifically, heat wave flash drought would become severe under RCP8.5, especially for the eastern PRB. However, precipitation deficit flash drought would be concentrated in the western PRB. Except for the central regions, PRB generally exhibits a significant upward trend in heat wave flash drought under RCP4.5. Under RCP8.5, distinct increases in both categories of flash drought across almost the whole PRB are expected. For precipitation deficit flash drought, only a few regions show significant upward trends under RCP2.6 and 4.5.

KEYWORDS:

Flash drought; Future changes; The Pearl River Basin; Variable infiltration capacity

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