Characterizing the 2010 Russian heatwave-Pakistan flood concurrent extreme over the last millennium using the Great Eurasian Drought Atlas

Benjamin I Cook 1NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA
2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York, USA

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Edward R Cook 2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York, USA

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Kevin J Anchukaitis 2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York, USA
3Laboratory for Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
4School of Geography, Development and Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

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Deepti Singh 5School of the Environment, Washington State University Vancouver, Vancouver, Washington, USA

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Abstract

During summer 2010, exceptional heat and drought in western Russia (WRU) occurred simultaneously with heavy rainfall and flooding in northern Pakistan (NPK). Here, we use the Great Eurasian Drought Atlas (GEDA), a new 1,021 year tree-ring reconstruction of summer soil moisture, to investigate the variability and dynamics of this exceptional spatially concurrent climate extreme over the last millennium. Summer 2010 in the GEDA was the second driest year over WRU and the largest wet–dry contrast between NPK and WRU; it was also the second warmest year over WRU in an independent 1,015 year temperature reconstruction. Soil moisture variability is only weakly correlated between the two regions and 2010 event analogues are rare, occurring in 31 (3.0%) or 52 (5.1%) years in the GEDA, depending on the definition used. Post-1900 is significantly drier in WRU and wetter in NPK compared to previous centuries, increasing the likelihood of concurrent wet NPK–dry WRU extremes, with over 20% of the events in the record occurring in this interval. The dynamics of wet NPK–dry WRU events like 2010 are well captured by two principal components in the GEDA, modes correlated with ridging over northern Europe and western Russia and a pan-hemispheric extratropical wave train pattern similar to that observed in 2010. Our results highlight how high resolution paleoclimate reconstructions can be used to capture some of the most extreme events in the climate system, investigate their physical drivers, and allow us to assess their behavior across longer timescales than available from shorter instrumental records.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Benjamin I Cook, benjamin.i.cook@nasa.gov

Abstract

During summer 2010, exceptional heat and drought in western Russia (WRU) occurred simultaneously with heavy rainfall and flooding in northern Pakistan (NPK). Here, we use the Great Eurasian Drought Atlas (GEDA), a new 1,021 year tree-ring reconstruction of summer soil moisture, to investigate the variability and dynamics of this exceptional spatially concurrent climate extreme over the last millennium. Summer 2010 in the GEDA was the second driest year over WRU and the largest wet–dry contrast between NPK and WRU; it was also the second warmest year over WRU in an independent 1,015 year temperature reconstruction. Soil moisture variability is only weakly correlated between the two regions and 2010 event analogues are rare, occurring in 31 (3.0%) or 52 (5.1%) years in the GEDA, depending on the definition used. Post-1900 is significantly drier in WRU and wetter in NPK compared to previous centuries, increasing the likelihood of concurrent wet NPK–dry WRU extremes, with over 20% of the events in the record occurring in this interval. The dynamics of wet NPK–dry WRU events like 2010 are well captured by two principal components in the GEDA, modes correlated with ridging over northern Europe and western Russia and a pan-hemispheric extratropical wave train pattern similar to that observed in 2010. Our results highlight how high resolution paleoclimate reconstructions can be used to capture some of the most extreme events in the climate system, investigate their physical drivers, and allow us to assess their behavior across longer timescales than available from shorter instrumental records.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Benjamin I Cook, benjamin.i.cook@nasa.gov
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