Copula-Based Convection-Permitting Projections of Future Changes in Multivariate Drought Characteristics

B. Zhang, S. Wang (Corresponding Author), Y. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Probabilistic projections of future drought characteristics play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. This study presents a copula-based probabilistic framework for projecting future changes in multivariable drought characteristics through convection-permitting Weather Research and Forecasting simulations with 4-km horizontal grid spacing. A probabilistic multivariate drought index is introduced to examine the joint effects of drought indicators with uncertainty intervals for four major river basins located in South Central Texas of the United States. Markov chain Monte Carlo is used to address uncertainties in assessing copula parameters and in predicting climate-induced changes in hydrological regimes. Our findings reveal that the severity and intensity of drought episodes can be amplified when considering the compound effects of soil moisture and runoff regimes by using the probabilistic multivariate drought index. The South Central Texas region is projected to experience more drought events with shorter duration and higher intensity in a changing climate. The drought severity will not necessarily increase due to the decreasing drought duration. In addition, our findings indicate that the intensity of future droughts is expected to increase as a result of the deficiency of soil moisture even though precipitation extremes are projected to become more frequent. Moreover, climate change impacts on multivariate drought characteristics will intensify with the increasing temporal scales (i.e., short-, medium-, and long-term droughts) although the number of future drought events may decrease by the end of this century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7460-7483
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • climate change projection
  • convection permitting
  • copula
  • drought
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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