Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 560691
Title Warming of hot extremes alleviated by expanding irrigation
Author(s) Thiery, Wim; Visser, Auke J.; Fischer, Erich M.; Hauser, Mathias; Hirsch, Annette L.; Lawrence, David M.; Lejeune, Quentin; Davin, Edouard L.; Seneviratne, Sonia I.
Source Nature Communications 11 (2020)1. - ISSN 2041-1723
Department(s) Meteorology and Air Quality
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2020

Irrigation affects climate conditions – and especially hot extremes – in various regions across the globe. Yet how these climatic effects compare to other anthropogenic forcings is largely unknown. Here we provide observational and model evidence that expanding irrigation has dampened historical anthropogenic warming during hot days, with particularly strong effects over South Asia. We show that irrigation expansion can explain the negative correlation between global observed changes in daytime summer temperatures and present-day irrigation extent. While global warming increases the likelihood of hot extremes almost globally, irrigation can regionally cancel or even reverse the effects of all other forcings combined. Around one billion people (0.79–1.29) currently benefit from this dampened increase in hot extremes because irrigation massively expanded throughout the 20t h century. Our results therefore highlight that irrigation substantially reduced human exposure to warming of hot extremes but question whether this benefit will continue towards the future.

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