Attribution of Global Soil Moisture Drying to Human Activities: A Quantitative Viewpoint

Xihui Gu, Qiang Zhang*, Jianfeng LI, Vijay P. Singh, Jianyu Liu, Peng Sun, Changxiu Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Anthropogenic impacts on widespread global soil moisture (SM) drying in the root zone layer during 1948–2005 were evaluated based on the Global Land Data Assimilation System version 2 (GLDAS-2) and global climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 using trend analysis and optimal fingerprint methods. Both methods show agreement that natural forcing alone cannot drive significant SM drying. There is a high probability (≥90%) that the anthropogenic climate change signal is detectable in global SM drying. Specifically, anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing can lead to global SM drying by 2.1 × 10−3 m3/m3, which is comparable to the drying trend seen in Global Land Data Assimilation System version 2 (2.4 × 10−3 m3/m3) over the past 58 years. Global SM drying is expected to continue in the future, given continuous greenhouse gas emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2573-2582
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • attribution
  • human activities
  • soil moisture

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