Improved seasonal drought forecasts using reference evapotranspiration anomalies
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Improved seasonal drought forecasts using reference evapotranspiration anomalies
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  • Source:
    Geophysical Research Letters, 43(1), 377-385.
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  • Description:
    A novel contiguous United States (CONUS) wide evaluation of reference evapotranspiration (ET0; a formulation of evaporative demand) anomalies is performed using the Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2) reforecast data for 1982-2009. This evaluation was motivated by recent research showing ET0 anomalies can accurately represent drought through exploitation of the complementary relationship between actual evapotranspiration and ET0. Moderate forecast skill of ET0 was found up to leads of 5months and was consistently better than precipitation skill over most of CONUS. Forecasts of ET0 during drought events revealed high categorical skill for notable warm-season droughts of 1988 and 1999 in the central and northeast CONUS, with precipitation skill being much lower or absent. Increased ET0 skill was found in several climate regions when CFSv2 forecasts were initialized during moderate-to-strong El Nino-Southern Oscillation events. Our findings suggest that ET0 anomaly forecasts can improve and complement existing seasonal drought forecasts.
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