Global patterns of drought recovery

Christopher R Schwalm, William R.L. Anderegg, Anna M. Michalak, Joshua B. Fisher, Franco Biondi, George W Koch, Marcy Litvak, Kiona Ogle, John D. Shaw, Adam Wolf, Deborah N Huntzinger, Kevin Schaefer, Robert Cook, Yaxing Wei, Yuanyuan Fang, Daniel Hayes, Maoyi Huang, Atul Jain, Hanqin Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drought, a recurring phenomenon with major impacts on both human and natural systems, is the most widespread climatic extreme that negatively affects the land carbon sink. Although twentieth-century trends in drought regimes are ambiguous, across many regions more frequent and severe droughts are expected in the twenty-first century. Recovery time - how long an ecosystem requires to revert to its pre-drought functional state - is a critical metric of drought impact. Yet the factors influencing drought recovery and its spatiotemporal patterns at the global scale are largely unknown. Here we analyse three independent datasets of gross primary productivity and show that, across diverse ecosystems, drought recovery times are strongly associated with climate and carbon cycle dynamics, with biodiversity and CO 2 fertilization as secondary factors. Our analysis also provides two key insights into the spatiotemporal patterns of drought recovery time: first, that recovery is longest in the tropics and high northern latitudes (both vulnerable areas of Earth's climate system) and second, that drought impacts (assessed using the area of ecosystems actively recovering and time to recovery) have increased over the twentieth century. If droughts become more frequent, as expected, the time between droughts may become shorter than drought recovery time, leading to permanently damaged ecosystems and widespread degradation of the land carbon sink.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-205
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume548
Issue number7666
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017

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Droughts
Ecosystem
Carbon Sequestration
Climate
Carbon Cycle
Biodiversity
Carbon Monoxide
Fertilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

Cite this

Schwalm, C. R., Anderegg, W. R. L., Michalak, A. M., Fisher, J. B., Biondi, F., Koch, G. W., ... Tian, H. (2017). Global patterns of drought recovery. Nature, 548(7666), 202-205. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23021

Global patterns of drought recovery. / Schwalm, Christopher R; Anderegg, William R.L.; Michalak, Anna M.; Fisher, Joshua B.; Biondi, Franco; Koch, George W; Litvak, Marcy; Ogle, Kiona; Shaw, John D.; Wolf, Adam; Huntzinger, Deborah N; Schaefer, Kevin; Cook, Robert; Wei, Yaxing; Fang, Yuanyuan; Hayes, Daniel; Huang, Maoyi; Jain, Atul; Tian, Hanqin.

In: Nature, Vol. 548, No. 7666, 09.08.2017, p. 202-205.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schwalm, CR, Anderegg, WRL, Michalak, AM, Fisher, JB, Biondi, F, Koch, GW, Litvak, M, Ogle, K, Shaw, JD, Wolf, A, Huntzinger, DN, Schaefer, K, Cook, R, Wei, Y, Fang, Y, Hayes, D, Huang, M, Jain, A & Tian, H 2017, 'Global patterns of drought recovery', Nature, vol. 548, no. 7666, pp. 202-205. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23021
Schwalm CR, Anderegg WRL, Michalak AM, Fisher JB, Biondi F, Koch GW et al. Global patterns of drought recovery. Nature. 2017 Aug 9;548(7666):202-205. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23021
Schwalm, Christopher R ; Anderegg, William R.L. ; Michalak, Anna M. ; Fisher, Joshua B. ; Biondi, Franco ; Koch, George W ; Litvak, Marcy ; Ogle, Kiona ; Shaw, John D. ; Wolf, Adam ; Huntzinger, Deborah N ; Schaefer, Kevin ; Cook, Robert ; Wei, Yaxing ; Fang, Yuanyuan ; Hayes, Daniel ; Huang, Maoyi ; Jain, Atul ; Tian, Hanqin. / Global patterns of drought recovery. In: Nature. 2017 ; Vol. 548, No. 7666. pp. 202-205.
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