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

1. Introduction The Middle East and southwest Asia are a highly water-stressed region with reduced societal resilience resulting from economic and political challenges. As a result, severe drought in the region can have complex impacts, ranging beyond direct impacts on crops and livestock to an array of indirect impacts associated with sanitation, nutrition, loss of livelihood, displaced populations, and international disputes. As an example, the catastrophic 1999–2001 drought resulted in

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Richard Seager and Martin Hoerling

Fig. 2 : results for (top) the observations, (middle) a single run of the climate model, and (bottom) the ensemble mean of the model simulations. 5. Observed and modeled precipitation variations in the Great Plains and southwest North America over the past century From what has been presented so far we would expect that the atmosphere model forced by historical observed SSTs would, by simulating the ocean-forced component, capture some, but by no means all, of the observed history of precipitation

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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

Africa ( Fig. 6 ); 6 is the Middle East, 7 is southern Asia, and 8 is East Asia ( Fig. 7 ); and 9 is Australia, and 10 is Indonesia ( Fig. 8 ). We start by providing an overall scientific context for drought through an examination of the global drivers of precipitation and temperature changes on interannual and decadal time scales ( section 2 ). Next, we relate these and other factors to drought in different regions, highlighting implications for predictability and prediction ( section 3 ). Section

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

1. Introduction Land surface processes are recognized as a potential source of climate variability and predictability at different time scales, from hours to seasons and longer ( Koster et al. 2000 ; Koster and Suarez 2003 ; Guo et al. 2011 ; Sellers et al. 1992 ; Foley et al. 2000 ). Changes in the land surface or vegetation cover can affect the way the land and the atmosphere interact at many of those time scales and can thus have an effect on climate. Changes in the surface states result

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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

the results of several studies ( Folland et al. 1986 ; Palmer 1986 ; Rowell et al. 1992 ; Ward 1998 ; Camberlin et al. 2001 ; Giannini et al. 2003 ; Lu and Delworth 2005 ; Cook 2008 ; Caminade and Terray 2010 ; Losada et al. 2010 ; Rodríguez-Fonseca et al. 2011 ; Mohino et al. 2011a ; Rowell 2013 ; Nicholson 2013 ). Other studies have addressed the effects of land–atmosphere interactions ( Xue, 1997 ; Zeng et al. 1999 ; Nicholson 2000 ; Giannini et al. 2003 ; Yoshioka et al. 2007

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

more global perspective of relevant teleconnections and physical mechanisms. This paper is part of a Global Drought Information System (GDIS) special collection that addresses the causes of drought worldwide. We note that there are separate papers in this collection focusing on drought in large regions bordering and in part overlapping northern Eurasia, including papers on Europe, the Middle East, southwest Asia, and eastern Asia (e.g., Barlow et al. 2013 , manuscript submitted to J. Climate

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Lixia Zhang and Tianjun Zhou

central–south Japan, short-term droughts occur more frequently than longer-term droughts, but in NW China, the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, northeast China, and north Japan, longer-term droughts occur more frequently. 5. Atmospheric circulation changes associated with the interannual variation of drought and possible mechanisms The standard deviations of seasonal precipitation are shown in the left column of Fig. 4 . In every season, the precipitation standard deviation shows a decrease from

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