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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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This study is the first to identify homogeneous regions with distinct drought characteristics over Japan and connect the drought in Japan with the global climatic drivers. In particular, two regions with similar drought spatiotemporal characteristics were first identified. Then we found that a lack of soil moisture could increase the risk of severe wildfires in these two regions. Finally, we identified the most significant global climatic drivers affecting these two regions.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-416
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-416

  06 Jan 2021

06 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Evaluating Spatiotemporal Patterns and Trends of Drought in Japan Associated with Global Climatic Drivers

Ke Shi, Yoshiya Touge, and So Kazama Ke Shi et al.
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tohoku University, Aramakiaza Aoba 6-6-06, Aoba, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8579, Japan

Abstract. Drought disasters, such as water scarcity and wildfires, are serious natural disasters in Japan that are also affected by climate change. However, as drought generally has widespread impacts and the duration of drought can vary considerably, it is difficult to assess the spatiotemporal characteristics and the climatic causes of drought. Therefore, to identify the drought homogeneous regions and understand climatic causes of regional drought over Japan, this study provides a spatiotemporal analysis for historical droughts patterns and teleconnections associated with global climatic drivers. The trends of meteorological elements, which are the basis of drought index calculation, was first assessed. Then, drought characterized by the Self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI) was investigated. Trends and patterns of drought were identified through the trend-free pre-whitening Mann-Kendall test and distinct empirical orthogonal function. The continuous wavelet transform and cross wavelet transform together with wavelet coherence were utilized to depict the links between drought and global climatic drivers. The results are described as follows: (1) the trends of precipitation were insignificant. However, temperature and potential evapotranspiration increasing trends were detected over Japan; (2) the drought trend over Japan varied seasonally, increasing in spring and summer and decreasing in autumn and winter; (3) two major subregions of drought variability—the western Japan (W region) and most of the northernmost Japan near the Pacific (N region) were identified; (4) wildfires with large burned area were more likely to occur when the scPDSI was less than −1; and (5) the North Atlantic Index (NAOI) showed the strongest coherence connections with Distinguished Principle Components-1 among four climatic drivers. Additionally, Distinguished Principle Components-2 showed stronger coherence connections with NAOI and Arctic Oscillation Index. This study is the first to identify homogeneous regions with distinct drought characteristics over Japan and connect the drought in Japan with the global climatic drivers.

Ke Shi et al.

Status: open (until 17 Feb 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on nhess-2020-416', Francesco Serinaldi, 06 Jan 2021 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Ke Shi, 07 Jan 2021 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2020-416', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Jan 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2020-416', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Jan 2021 reply

Ke Shi et al.

Ke Shi et al.

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Short summary
This study is the first to identify homogeneous regions with distinct drought characteristics over Japan and connect the drought in Japan with the global climatic drivers. In particular, two regions with similar drought spatiotemporal characteristics were first identified. Then we found that a lack of soil moisture could increase the risk of severe wildfires in these two regions. Finally, we identified the most significant global climatic drivers affecting these two regions.
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