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Mathew Barlow, Benjamin Zaitchik, Shlomit Paz, Emily Black, Jason Evans, and Andrew Hoell

a particular focus of this review. Large-scale and subsistence farming as well as pasturing are common throughout the region (e.g., Ryan et al. 2012 ; Ramankutty et al. 2008 ), so the region’s precipitation, though modest in many areas, is very important. The combined effects of water scarcity ( Oki and Kanae 2006 ) and frequent drought over the Middle East and central-southwest Asia ( Mishra and Singh 2010 ) affect crop yields and the regional economy ( Kaniewski et al. 2012 ), which

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Siegfried D. Schubert, Ronald E. Stewart, Hailan Wang, Mathew Barlow, Ernesto H. Berbery, Wenju Cai, Martin P. Hoerling, Krishna K. Kanikicharla, Randal D. Koster, Bradfield Lyon, Annarita Mariotti, Carlos R. Mechoso, Omar V. Müller, Belen Rodriguez-Fonseca, Richard Seager, Sonia I. Seneviratne, Lixia Zhang, and Tianjun Zhou

1. Introduction Drought, which can occur in almost any region of the world, is one of the most destructive natural hazards faced by society. Some of the direst concerns related to climate change are associated with possible changes in drought frequency and severity, although regional drought projections often show large uncertainties (e.g., Seneviratne et al. 2012a ; Orlowsky and Seneviratne 2013 ). A substantial amount of research and operational effort has been devoted to investigating

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Omar V. Müller, Ernesto Hugo Berbery, Domingo Alcaraz-Segura, and Michael B. Ek

changes in land cover may have a limited representation of the land surface–atmosphere feedbacks and consequently on their effects on the regional climate. South America is a region where climate models tend to have difficulties to properly reproduce the patterns and magnitude of precipitation (e.g., Silvestri and Vera 2008 ; Solman et al. 2008 ; Rusticucci et al. 2010 ). The reasons are not fully understood, but contributing factors are assumed to be the misrepresentation of the actual land

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Belen Rodríguez-Fonseca, Elsa Mohino, Carlos R. Mechoso, Cyril Caminade, Michela Biasutti, Marco Gaetani, J. Garcia-Serrano, Edward K. Vizy, Kerry Cook, Yongkang Xue, Irene Polo, Teresa Losada, Leonard Druyan, Bernard Fontaine, Juergen Bader, Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes, Lisa Goddard, Serge Janicot, Alberto Arribas, William Lau, Andrew Colman, M. Vellinga, David P. Rowell, Fred Kucharski, and Aurore Voldoire

– 1424 , doi: 10.1002/joc.2180 . Druyan , L. M. , and Coauthors , 2010 : The WAMME regional model intercomparison study . Climate Dyn. , 35 , 175 – 192 , doi: 10.1007/s00382-009-0676-7 . Eltahir , E. A. B. , and C. Gong , 1996 : Dynamics of wet and dry years in West Africa . J. Climate , 9 , 1030 – 1042 , doi: 10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009<1030:DOWADY>2.0.CO;2 . Ermert , V. , A. H. Fink , and H. Paeth , 2013 : The potential effects of climate change on malaria transmission in

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Richard Seager and Martin Hoerling

“Provision of skillful future climate information on regional scales,” to “Identify and understand phenomena that offer some degree of intraseasonal to interannual predictability” and “Identify and understand phenomena that offer some degree of decadal predictability.” Further, we aim to contribute to the goal under “Interactions across multiplicity of drivers and feedbacks at the regional scale” to “provide increased understanding of the interplay across the different drivers, processes and feedbacks

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Lixia Zhang and Tianjun Zhou

forcing ( Duan and Wu 2008 ) and anthropogenic forcing agents including aerosols ( Menon et al. 2002 ; Wang et al. 2013 ) have also been suggested as mechanisms that have driven the long-term monsoon and thereby drought changes over East Asia. A regional model study on land-use effects showed that the land use modified by anthropogenic activities may result in a reduction of precipitation and an increase of temperature over north China ( Gao et al. 2007 ). A recent analysis of 17 models from phase 5

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Wenju Cai, Ariaan Purich, Tim Cowan, Peter van Rensch, and Evan Weller

al. 2009 ; Ummenhofer et al. 2011 ; and references therein). The influence of these three dominant modes on Australia’s climate varies both regionally and seasonally. During the period between the mid-1990s and late 2000s, many Australian regions were plagued by concurrent severe droughts, which later became known as the Millennium Drought (e.g., Ummenhofer et al. 2009 ). One of the important questions is whether climate change played a role in this severe drought: was the Millennium Drought

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Bradfield Lyon

emphasizes linkages between seasonal drought in the Greater Horn and anomalous regional and large-scale SST and atmospheric circulation patterns, there certainly remain considerable gaps in our understanding of the region’s climate. As reviewed by Nicholson (1996) , there appears to be no single cause for its semiarid mean state, for example, and it is challenging to identify coherent synoptic circulation systems associated with the generation of daily rainfall. While some process studies have been

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Siegfried D. Schubert, Hailan Wang, Randal D. Koster, Max J. Suarez, and Pavel Ya. Groisman

; Zhang and Zhou 2014, manuscript submitted to J. Climate ). The interested reader is referred to those papers for more information on those regions. In keeping with the guidelines of the submissions to the GDIS special collection, we will touch on the following topics: i) drought/heat wave occurrence, metrics, and impacts; ii) key regional circulation features and physical processes; iii) trends; iv) predictability and projections; and v) gaps in our understanding. We begin in section 2 by

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