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Spatial extents of tropical droughts during El Niño in current and future climate in observations, reanalysis, and CMIP5 models

Many regions of the planet are extremely vulnerable to drought. In the tropics, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is recognized as a key driver of drought occurrence. In this study, we analyze the spatial extent of droughts over tropical land regions and evaluate its connection to ENSO in the recent past in observations and current generation models as well as simulated future projections. We demonstrate overall model fidelity in capturing a positive relationship between the tropical land area under drought and El Niño in the recent past and consider how this relationship may change in the future.

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