Impacts of internal climate variability on meteorological drought changes in China

Ai Hui Wang, Xubin Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Drought is one of the extreme events that can be caused by internal climate variability (ICV) and external forcing (EF). Here, the authors investigate the relative contributions of ICV and EF to meteorological drought changes in China using 40 members from the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble (CESE_LE) project for historical simulations (in response to greenhouse gases and other EF) and future simulations under the RCP8.5 scenario. The authors use the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) to represent meteorological drought, and then define and analyze four drought parameters (frequency, severity, duration, and maximum duration) over eight regions of China. For historical periods, the ICV plays a dominant role in drought variation, while with global warming under the RCP8.5 scenario the EF becomes the prominent factor for drought characteristics. With the global warming signal, the effect of ICV varies with the drought parameters. This study suggests that the ICV should be taken into account when climate model simulations are used to investigate drought—in particular, for historical periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • Drought
  • external forcing
  • internal climate variability
  • SPI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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