Drivers of Dry Day Sensitivity to Increased CO2

Douville, Hervé ; Chadwick, R. ; Saint-Lu, M. ; Medeiros, B.

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<p align=justify>Persistent precipitation deficits are among the most impactful consequences of global warming. Here we focus on changes in the annual number of dry days (NDD) and in the annual maximum length of dry spells due to a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2. We use atmosphere-only simulations to decompose the projected changes into additive contributions. A fast adjustment leads to a global increase in NDD despite notable regional exceptions (e.g., South Asia and Sahel). The effect of the uniform component of the surface ocean warming is model-dependent but shapes the regional distribution of the NDD response in each model. Finally, the ocean warming pattern also contributes to large uncertainties, likely through contrasting changes in large-scale circulation. Our results thus highlight the complexity of the NDD response, with policy-relevant practical implications for mitigation and adaptation strategies.</p>
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