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Journal Article

Drought losses in China might double between the 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C warming


Su,  B.
External Organizations;

Huang,  J.
External Organizations;

Fischer,  T.
External Organizations;

Wang,  Y.
External Organizations;


Kundzewicz,  Zbigniew W.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Zhai,  J.
External Organizations;

Sun,  H.
External Organizations;

Wang,  A.
External Organizations;

Zeng,  X.
External Organizations;

Wang,  G.
External Organizations;

Tao,  H.
External Organizations;

Gemmer,  M.
External Organizations;

Li,  X.
External Organizations;

Jiang,  T.
External Organizations;

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Su, B., Huang, J., Fischer, T., Wang, Y., Kundzewicz, Z. W., Zhai, J., Sun, H., Wang, A., Zeng, X., Wang, G., Tao, H., Gemmer, M., Li, X., Jiang, T. (2018): Drought losses in China might double between the 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C warming. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 115, 42, 10600-10605.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_22652
We project drought losses in China under global temperature increase of 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C, based on the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), a cluster analysis method, and “intensity-loss rate” function. In contrast to earlier studies, to project the drought losses, we predict the regional gross domestic product under shared socioeconomic pathways instead of using a static socioeconomic scenario. We identify increasing precipitation and evapotranspiration pattern for the 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C global warming above the preindustrial at 2020–2039 and 2040–2059, respectively. With increasing drought intensity and areal coverage across China, drought losses will soar. The estimated loss in a sustainable development pathway at the 1.5 °C warming level increases 10-fold in comparison with the reference period 1986–2005 and nearly threefold relative to the interval 2006–2015. However, limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 °C can reduce the annual drought losses in China by several tens of billions of US dollars, compared with the 2.0 °C warming.