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The Combined Impacts of ENSO and IOD on Global Seasonal Droughts

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hayley Fowler, Dr Stephen Blenkinsop



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 by the authors.Previous studies have revealed that global droughts are significantly affected by different types of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. However, quantifying the temporal and spatial characteristics of global droughts, particularly those occurring during combined ENSO and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events, is still largely unexplored. This study adopts the severity-area-duration (SAD) method to identify large-scale drought events and the Liang-Kleeman Information Flow (LKIF) to demonstrate the cause-and-effect relationship between the Nino3.4/Nino3/Nino4/Dipole Mode Index (DMI) and the global gridded three-month standardized precipitation index (SPI3) during 1951–2020. The five main achievements are as follows: (1) the intensity and coverage of droughts reach a peak in the developing and mature phases of El Niño, while La Niña most influences drought in its mature and decaying phases. (2) Compared with Eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño, the impacts of Central Pacific (CP) El Niño on global drought are more extensive and complex, especially in Africa and South America. (3) The areal extent and intensity of drought are greater in most land areas during the summer and autumn of the combined events. (4) The spatial variabilities in dryness and wetness on land are greater during combined CP El Niño and pIOD events, significantly in China and South America. (5) The quantified causalities from LKIF reveal the driving mechanism of ENSO/IOD on SPI3, supporting the findings above. These results lead to the potential for improving seasonal drought prediction, which is further discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yin H, Wu Z, Fowler HJ, Blenkinsop S, He H, Li Y

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Atmosphere

Year: 2022

Volume: 13

Issue: 10

Online publication date: 13/10/2022

Acceptance date: 08/10/2022

Date deposited: 05/07/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4433

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/atmos13101673


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