Hydroclimate patterns over the Northern Hemisphere when megadroughts occurred in North China during the last millennium

  • Mengxin Bai
  • Jingyun Zheng
  • Zhixin Hao
  • Xuezhen ZhangEmail author
  • Gang Zeng


Using multiple proxy data of historical hydroclimate variations, this study first selects the five heaviest megadrought decades in North China during the last millennium and then depicts the spatial pattern of hydroclimate over the Northern Hemisphere through these five megadrought decades. The results shows that abnormally dry conditions existed in East Asia, North America, and Europe when megadroughts in North China during the last millennium. The intensity of dry conditions in North America was stronger than that in Europe. Then, through comparing the spatial patterns of hydroclimate from proxy data with ensemble modeling of nine CMIP5/PMIP3 models, we find that such megadroughts in North China, and the contemporaneously abnormal dry conditions over the Northern Hemisphere were very likely mainly induced by external forcing, i.e., large volcanic eruptions and weakened solar irradiation. These external forcing may lead to climate cooling and, hence, air motion downward at mid-lower layer of troposphere, inducing a much more stable troposphere; as well as, the land-ocean pressure differences were weakened, and, hence, there would be decreased water vapor flux from ocean to land. Both of intensified stability of troposphere and weakened vapor transportations to land would lead to precipitation decline and, as a result, would be favorable for drought. It is therefore necessary to consider these external forcing into future climate change predicting to improve our ability of predicting megadrought.


Northern Hemisphere Megadrought Probability External forcing 


Funding information

This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2017YFA0603301), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41790424; 41430528), the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences from CAS (No. QYZDB-SSW-DQC005; ZDRW-ZS-2017-4), and Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (No. KLME1506).

Supplementary material

10584_2019_2580_MOESM1_ESM.docx (753 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 753 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mengxin Bai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jingyun Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhixin Hao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xuezhen Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gang Zeng
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of EducationNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina

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