Projections of future drought intensity associated with various local greenhouse gas emission scenarios in East Asia

  • New future climate change scenarios to reflect recent environmental polices of East Asian countries
  • Projection of the local greenhouse gas emission control effect to future drought in East Asia
  • Weakening of future drought intensity according to the greenhouse gas emission reduction
Abstract

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are ongoing in many East Asian countries; however, their influences on future drought remain unknown. We analyzed future changes in drought intensity over East Asia using the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 and the new two limiting local greenhouse gas emission scenarios in East Asia: National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER)-H scenario for high emission and NIER-L scenario for low emission. The two scenarios were made by a fully coupled global climate model with prescribed gas boundaries of high and low greenhouse gas emissions from an atmospheric chemistry model reflecting the up-to-date environmental policies of South Korea, China, and Japan. The application of a clustering analysis to the calculated drought index time series identified four zonally distributed drought regions in the present-day period (1951-2016). Among these regions, higher latitude regions showed a more rapidly increasing trend in drought intensity than other regions for the present-day period. All future scenarios projected the continuation of this meridional intensification trend of drought until 2100; however, the intensification rates in the NIER-L were much smaller than those in the RCP8.5 and NIER-H scenarios. Our results suggest that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical for East Asian countries to alleviate the potential damages of future droughts.

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