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AGU: Water Resources Research

 

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  • 1616 - Climate variability

Paper in Press

WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, doi:10.1029/2012WR011834

Is eastern Mongolia drying? A long-term perspective of a multi-decadal trend.

Key Points
  • Significantly spatially and temporally improved streamflow reconstruction
  • Greater variability captured then in the original reconstruction
  • Drought conditions seen over the past decade may be return to normal conditions

Authors:

Nicole K Davi

Neil Pederson

Caroline Leland

Nachin Baatarbileg

Byambagerel Suran

Gordon C. Jacoby

Temperatures in semi-arid Mongolia have rapidly risen over the past few decades while increases in drought, urban development, mining and agriculture have intensified demands on limited water resources. Understanding long-term streamflow variation is critical for Mongolia, particularly if alterations in streamflow are being considered and because of the potential negative impacts of drought on the animal agriculture sector. Here, we present a temporally and spatially improved streamflow reconstruction for the Kherlen River. We have added 11 new records, compared to two in the original 2001 reconstruction. This new reconstruction extends from 1630-2007 and places the most recent droughts in a multi-centennial perspective. We find that variations in streamflow have been much greater in the past than in the original study. There was higher variability in the mid to late 1700s- ranging from severe and extended drought conditions from 1723-1739 and again in 1768- 1778, to two decadal length episodes of very wet conditions in the mid and late 1700s. Reduced amplitude is seen in the mid 1800s and several pluvial events are reconstructed for the 1900s. While recent droughts are severe and disturbing economic and ecological systems in Mongolia and it appears that eastern Mongolia is drying, the drying trend since the late 1900s might in fact be accentuated by a change from a particularly wet era in Monoglia. The recent drought might be a return to more characteristic hydroclimatic conditions of the past four centuries in Mongolia.

Received 05 January 2012; accepted 13 November 2012.

Citation: Davi, N. K., N. Pederson, C. Leland, N. Baatarbileg, B. Suran, and G. C. Jacoby (2012), Is eastern Mongolia drying? A long-term perspective of a multi-decadal trend., Water Resour. Res., doi:10.1029/2012WR011834, in press.