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    Precipitation-based assessments show a lengthening of tropical dry seasons under climate change, without considering simultaneous changes in ecosystem water demand. Here, we compare changes in tropical dry season length and timing when dry season is defined as the period when precipitation is less than: its climatological average, potential evapotranspiration, or actual evapotranspiration. While all definitions show more widespread tropical drying than wetting for 1983-2016, we find the largest fraction (48.7%) of tropical land probably experiencing longer dry seasons when dry season is defined as the period when precipitation cannot meet the need of actual evapotranspiration. Southern Amazonia (due to delayed end) and central Africa (due to earlier onset and delayed end) are hotspots of dry season lengthening, with greater certainty when accounting for water demand changes. Therefore, it is necessary to account for changing water demand when characterizing changes in tropical dry periods and ecosystem water deficits. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Hao Xu, Xu Lian, Ingrid J Slette, Hui Yang, Yuan Zhang, Anping Chen, Shilong Piao. Rising ecosystem water demand exacerbates the lengthening of tropical dry seasons. Nature communications. 2022 Jul 14;13(1):4093

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    PMID: 35835788

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