Drought Research
Publications: The following research papers on North American drought and its global context can be downloaded:
  • NOAA DROUGHT TASK FORCE ASSESSMENT REPORT: Causes and Predictability of the 2011 to 2014 California Drought

  • Baek, S. H., N. Steiger, J. Smerdon and R. Seager, 2019: Oceanic drivers of widespread drought in the United States over the Common Era, Geophys. Res. Lett., 46, 8721-8280, doi:10.1029/2019GL082838. PDF
  • Steiger, N., J. Smerdon, R. Seager, B. Cook and A. P. Williams, 2019: Oceanic and radiative forcing of medieval megadroughts in the American southwest, Sci. Adv., 5, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax0087. PDF
  • Seager, R., M. Ting and J. Nakamura, 2019: Mechanisms of seasonal soil moisture drought onset and termination in the southern Great Plains, J. Hydromet., 32, 751-771. PDF
  • Seager, R., A. P. Williams, J. Nakamura and J. Axelson, 2019: Analysis and modeling of interannual timescale coupling between drought and bark beetles across the American West, in prep. PDF
  • Baek, H., J. E. Smerdon, R. Seager, A. P. Williams and B. I. Cook, 2019: Pacific Ocean forcing and atmospheric variability are the dominant causes of spatially widespread droughts in the contiguous United States, J. Geophys. Res., 124, 2507-2524. PDF
  • Cook, B., R. Seager, A. P. Williams, M. J. Puma, S. McDermid, M. Kelly and L. Nazarenko, 2019: Climate change amplification of natural drought variability: The historic mid-twentieth century North American drought in a warmer world, J. Climate, doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0832.1. PDF
  • Cook, B. I., A.P. Williams, J.S. Mankin, R. Seager, J.E. Smerdon and D. Singh, 2018: Revisiting the leading drivers of Pacific coastal drought variability in the Contiguous United States, J. Climate, 31, 25-43. PDF
  • Seager, R., N. Henderson, M.A. Cane, H. Liu and J. Nakamura, 2017: Is there a role for human-driven climate change in the precipitation decline that drove the California drought?, J. Climate, 30, 10237-10258. PDF
  • Seager, R. and M. Ting, 2017: Decadal drought variability over North America: Mechanisms and predictability, Curr. Clim. Change Rep., doi 10.1007/s40641-017-0062-1. PDF
  • Williams, A.P., B. I. Cook, J. E. Smerdon, D. A. Bishop and R. Seager, 2017: The 2016 southeastern US drought: an extreme departure from centennial wetting and cooling, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., doi:10.1002/2017JD027523. PDF
  • Baek, H. S., J. E. Smerdon, S. Coats, A. P. Williams, B. I. Cook, E. R. Cook and R. Seager, 2017: Precipitation, temperature, and teleconnection signals across the combined North American, Monsoon Asia, and Old World Drought Atlases, J. Climate, 30, 7141-7155. PDF
  • Coats, S., K. Karnauskas, J. Smerdon and R. Seager, 2016: The improbable but unexceptional occurrence of megadrought clustering in the American West during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Env. Res. Lett., 11, 074025, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074025. PDF
  • Coats, S., J. Smerdon, B. Cook, R. Seager, E. Cook and K. Anchukaitis, 2016: Internal ocean-atmosphere variability drives megadroughts in Western North America, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 98869894, doi:10.1002/2016GL070105. PDF
  • Schubert, S., R. Stewart, H. Wang, M. Barlow, E. Berbery, W. Cai, M. Hoerling, K. Kanikicharla, R. Koster, B. Lyon, A. Mariotti, C. Mechoso, O. Muller, B. Rodriguez-Fonseca, S. Seneviratne R. Seager, L. Zhang and T. Zhou, 2016: Global Meteorological Drought: A Synthesis of Current Understanding with a Focus on SST Drivers of Precipitation Deficits. J. Climate: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0452.1. PDF
  • Cook, B., E. Cook, J. E. Smerdon, R. Seager, A. P. Williams, S. Coats, D. W. Stahle and J. Villanueva-Diaz, 2016: North American megadroughts in the Common Era: reconstructions and simulations. WIREs Clim. Change doi: 10.1002/wcc.394. PDF
  • Seager, R., and E.R. Cook, 2015: Medieval megadroughts in the Four Corners region: Characterization and causes. Presentation: The Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas, April 2007. PDF
  • Cook, E. R., R. Seager, Y. Kushnir, K. Briffa, U. Buntgen, D. Frabk, P. Krusic, W. Tegel, G. van der Schrier, L. Andreu-Hayles, M. Baillie, C. Baitttinger, A. Billamboz, N. Bleicher, N. Bonde, D. Brown, M. Carrer, R. Cooper, K. Cufar, C. Dittmar, J. Esper, C. Giggs, B. Gunnarson, B. Gunther, E. Gutierrez, K. Haneca, S. Helema, F. Herzig, K.-U. Heussner, J. Hofman, P. Janda, R. Kontic, N. Kose, T. Kyncl, T. Levanic, H. Linderholm, S. Manning, T. Melvin, D. Miles, B. Neuwirth, K. Nicolussi, P. Nola, M. Panayotov, I. Popa, A. Rothe, K. Seftigen, A. Seim, H. Svarva, M. Svoboda, T. Thun, M. Timonen, R. Touchan, V. Trotsiuk, V. Truet, F. Walder, T. Wazny, R. Wilson, C. Zang, 2015: Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era.Science Adv., 10.1126/sciadv.1500561. PDF
  • Williams, A.P., R. Seager, J.T. Abatzoglou, B.I. Cook, J.E. Smerdon and E.R. Cook, 2015: Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012-1014. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL064924. PDF, Supplemental
  • Williams, A.P., R. Seager, A.K. Macalady, M. Berkelhammer, M.A. Crimmins, T.W. Swetnam, A.T. Trugman, N. Buenning, D. Noone, N.G. McDowell, N. Hryniw, C.I. Mora and T. Rahn, 2015: Correlations between components of the water balance and burned area reveal new insights for predicting forest fire area in the southwest United States. Inter. J. Wildland Fire, 24, 14-26, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF14023. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., R. Seager and J.E. Smerdon, 2014: The worst North American drought year of the last millennium: 1934. Geophys. Res. Lett, 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL061661. PDF
  • Hoerling, M., J. Eischeid, A. Kumar, R. Leung, A. Mariotti, K. Mo, S. Schubert and R. Seager, 2014: Causes and Predictability of the 2012 Great Plains Drought. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: 269-282. PDF
  • Seager, R., D. Neelin, I. Simpson, H. Liu, N. Henderson, T. Shaw, Y. Kushnir, M. Ting and B. Cook, 2014: Dynamical and thermodynamical causes of large-scale changes in the hydrological cycle over North America in response to global warming. J. Climate, 27, 7921-7948. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., J.E. Smerdon, R. Seager and S. Coats, 2014: Global warming and 21st century drying. Climate Dynamics,43, 2607-2627, doi:10.1007/s00382-014-
    2075-y. PDF
  • Williams, A.P., C.D. Allen, A.K. Macalady, D. Griffin, C.A. Woodhouse, D.M. Meko, T.W. Swetnam, S.A. Rauscher, R. Seager, H.D. Grissino-Mayer, J.S. Dean, E.R. Cook, C. Gangodagamage, M. Cai and N.G. McDowell, 2013: Temperature as a potent drive of regional forest drought stress and tree mortality. Nat. Clim. Change, 3, 292-297, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1693. PDF
  • Coats, S., J.E. Smerdon, R. Seager, B.I. Cook and J.F. Gonzalez-Rouco, 2013: Megadroughts in Southwestern North America in ECHO-G Millennial Simulations and their Comparison to Proxy Drought Reconstructions. J. Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00603.1. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., J.E. Smerdon, R. Seager and E.R. Cook, 2013: Pan-continental droughts in North America over the last millennium. J. Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00100.1. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., and R. Seager, 2013: The response of the North American Monsoon to increased greenhouse gas forcing. Geophys. Res (Atmos.), 118, 1960-1699, doi: 10:1002/jgrd.50111. PDF
  • Kelley, C., M. Ting, R. Seager and Y. Kushnir, 2012: Mediterranean precipitation climatology, seasonal cycle, and trend as simulated by CMIP5. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L21703, doi:10.1029/2012GL053416. PDF
  • Seager, R., L. Goddard, J. Nakamura, N. Henderson and D. Lee, 2013: Dynamical causes of the 2010/11 Texas-northern Mexico drought. J. Hydrometeorology, 15, 39-68, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-13-024.1. PDF
  • Seager, R. and N. Naik, 2012: A mechanisms-based approach for detecting recent anthropogenic hydroclimate change. J. Climate, 25, 1, 236-261. PDF
  • Ting, M., Y. Kushnir, R. Seager and L. Cuihua, 2011: Robust features of Atlantic multi-decadal variability and its climate impacts. GRL, 38, L17705, doi:10.1029/2011GL048712. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., R. Seager and R.L. Miller, 2011: The impact of devegetated dune fields on North American climate during the late Medieval Climate Anomaly. Geo. Res. Lett., 38, L14704, doi:10.1029/2011GL047566. PDF
  • Seager, R., N. Pederson, Y. Kushnir, J. Nakamura and S. Jurburg, 2011: The 1960s drought and the subsequent shift to a wetter climate in the Catskill Mountains region of the New York City watershed. J. Climate, 25, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00518.1, 6,721-6,742. PDF
  • Seager, R., N. Naik and L. Vogel, 2011: Does global warming cause intensified interannual hydroclimate variability? J. Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00363.1, PDF
  • Burgman, R., R. Seager, A. C. Clement and C. Herweijer, 2010: Role of tropical Pacific SSTs in global medieval hydroclimate: A modeling study. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37(L06705): doi: 10.1029/2009GL042239. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., R. Seager and R. Miller, 2010: On the causes and dynamics of the early twentieth century North American pluvial. J. Climate, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4201.1. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., R. Seager and R. Miller, 2010: Atmospheric circulation anomalies during two persistent North American droughts: 1932-1939 and 1948-1957. Climate Dynamics: doi: 10.1007/s00382-010-0807-1.PDF
  • Cook, B.I., E.R. Cook, K.J. Anchukaitis, R. Seager and R. L. Miller, 2010: Forced and unforced variability of twentieth century North American droughts and pluvials. Climate Dynamics: doi: 10.1007/s00382-010-0897-9. PDF
  • Kushnir, Y. , R. Seager, M. Ting, N. Naik and J. Nakamura, 2010: Mechanisms of Tropical Atlantic SST Influence on North American Precipitation Variability. Journal of Climate, 23, doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3172.1. PDF
  • Seager, R., N. Naik and G.A. Vecchi, 2010: Thermodynamic and dynamic mechanisms for large-scale changes in the hydrological cycle in response to global warming. J. Climate, 23: 4651-4668. PDF
  • Seager, R., N.H. Naik, M.F. Ting, M.A. Cane, N. Harnik, Y. Kushnir, 2010: Adjustment of the atmospheric circulation to tropical Pacific SST anomalies: Variability of transient eddy propagation in the Pacific-North America sector. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 136: 277-296, doi: 10.1002/qj.588. PDF
  • Seager, R. and Vecchi, G.A., 2010: Greenhouse warming and the 21st Century hydroclimate of southwestern North America, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709640104. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., R. L. Miller and R. Seager, 2009: Amplification of the North American Dust Bowl drought through human-induced land degradation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(13): 4997-5001. PDF
  • Cook, E.R., R. Seager, R.R. Heim, R.S. Vose, C. Herweijer, C. Woodhouse, 2009: Megadroughts in North America: Placing IPCC Projections of Hydroclimatic Change in a Long-Term Paleoclimate Context. Journal of Quaternary Science, doi: 10.1002/jqs.1303. PDF
  • Karnauskas KB, Seager R, Kaplan A, Kushnir Y, Cane MA, 2009: Observed strengthening of the zonal sea surface temperature gradient across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Journal of Climate, 22, 4316-4321. PDF
  • Seager, R., M. Ting, M. Davis, M.A. Cane, N. Naik, J. Nakamura, C. Li, E. Cook and D.W. Stahle, 2009: Mexican drought: An observational, modeling and tree ring study of variability and climate change, Atmosfera, 22, (1), 1-31. PDF
  • Seager, R., A. Tzanova and J. Nakamura, 2009: Drought in the Southeastern United States: Causes, variability over the last millennium and the potential for future hydroclimate chan ge, Journal of Climate, 22, 5021-5045. PDF
  • Stahle, D.W., E.R. Cook, J. Villanueva Díaz, F. K. Fye, D. J. Burnette, R. D. Griffin, R. Acuña Soto, R. Seager, and R. R. Heim Jr., 2009: Early 21st-Century Drought in Mexico, EOS, Vol. 90, No. 11, March 2009, 89-100. PDF
  • Cook, B.I., R.L. Miller and R. Seager, 2008: Dust and sea surface temperature forcing of the 1930's 'Dust Bowl' drought. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 35, L08710, doi: 10.1029/2008GL033486. PDF
  • Herweijer, C. and R. Seager, 2008: The Global Footprint of Persistent Extra-tropical Drought in the Instrumental Era. International Journal of Climatology, 28(13): 1761-1774. PDF
  • Seager, R., Y. Kushnir, M.F. Ting, M. Cane, N. Naik and J. Velez, 2008. Would advance knowledge of 1930s SSTs have allowed prediction of the Dust Bowl drought? Journal of Climate, 21, p. 3261-3281, doi: 10.1175/2007JCLI2134.1. PDF
  • Cook, E.R., R. Seager, M.A. Cane and D.W. Stahle, 2007: North American Drought: Reconstructions, Causes, and Consequences. Earth Science Reviews, 81, 93-134. PDF
  • Herweijer, C., R. Seager, E.R. Cook and J. Emile-Geay, 2007: North American Droughts of the last Millennium from a Gridded Network of Tree-ring Data. Journal of Climate, 20, 1353-1376. PDF
  • Schubert, Siegfried, Randal Koster, Martin Hoerling, Richard Seager, Dennis Lettenmaier, Arun Kumar and David Gutzler, 2007: Predicting Drought on Seasonal-to-Decadal Time Scales. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 88(10): 1625-1630. PDF
  • Seager, R., M.F. Ting, I.M. Held, Y. Kushnir, J. Lu, G. Vecchi, H.-P. Huang, N. Harnik, A. Leetmaa, N.-C. Lau, C. Li, J. Velez, N. Naik, 2007: Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America, Science, 316, (5828), 1181 - 1184 doi: 10.1126/science.1139601. PDF
  • Seager, R., R. Burgman, Y. Kushnir, A. Clement, E. Cook, N. Naik and J. Velez, 2007: Tropical Pacific forcing of North American Medieval megadroughts: Testing the concept with an atmosphere model forced by coral-reconstructed SSTs, Journal of Climate, 21(23): 6175-6190. PDF
  • Seager, R., Graham N., Herweijer, C., Gordon, A.L., Kushnir, Y. and E. Cook, 2007: Blueprints for Medieval hydroclimate. Quat. Sci. Rev., doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.04.020. PDF
  • Seager, R., 2007: The Turn of the Century drought across North America: global context, dynamics and past analogues. Journal of Climate. Vol. 20, 5527-5552. PDF
  • Herweijer, C., R. Seager and E.R. Cook, 2006: North American Droughts of the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century: a history, simulation and implication for Mediaeval drought. The Holocene, 16, 159-171. PDF
  • Huang, H.-P., R. Seager and Y. Kushnir, 2005: The 1976/77 transition in precipitation over the Americas and the influence of tropical SST. Clim. Dyn., 24: 721-740.PDF
  • Seager, R. , N. Harnik, W. A. Robinson, Y. Kushnir, M. Ting, H. Huang and J. Velez, 2005: Mechanisms of ENSO-forcing of hemispherically symmetric precipitation variability. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 131: 1501-1527. PDF
  • Seager, R., Y. Kushnir, C. Herweijer, N. Naik and J. Velez, 2005: Modeling of tropical forcing of persistent droughts and pluvials over western North America: 1856-2000. Journal of Climate, 18, (19), 4068-4091. PDF
  • Cook, E.R., C.A. Woodhouse, C.M. Eakin, D.M. Meko and D.W. Stahle, 2004: Long-term aridity changes in the western United States. Science. 306(5698): 1015-1018.PDF
  • Karspeck, A.R., R. Seager, and M.A. Cane, 2004: Predictability of tropical Pacific decadal variability in an intermediate model, Journal of Climate, 17, (14), 2842-2850.PDF
  • Seager, R., A, Karspeck, M. Cane, Y. Kushnir, A. Giannini, A. Kaplan, B. Kerman and J. Miller, 2004: Predicting Pacific decadal variability. In Earth Climate: The ocean-atmosphere interaction, C. Wang, S.-P. Xie and J. A. Carton, Eds., 105-120, American Geophysical Union, Washington DC. PDF

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