Aridity assessment and forecast for Kherson oblast (Ukraine) at the climate change

Abstract

Kherson oblast is a zone of risky agriculture, which is subjected to great inequality between evapotranspiration and precipitation. Climate change, which takes place worldwide, is a driving force for an increase in the risks of extreme droughts occurrence, aridity aggravation, and desertification in many regions. We have studied a long-term (1905-2019) state of natural water supply in the region and worked out scenario of future situation for 2020-2050. Potential evapotranspiration was calculated by the method of Holdridge, natural humidification deficit was expressed as a difference between the potential evapotranspiration and effective rainfall, distribution of precipitation was indirectly assessed by the coefficient of variation. Mann-Kendall and Sen’s slope test revealed no trend in natural humidification supply and distribution of precipitation in the studied area, while air temperature, rainfall, and potential evapotranspiration tend to increase. The forecast created by the method of exponential triple smoothing anticipates a considerable increase in the above indices. It was also found out that the increase in rainfall is a bit greater than the increase in potential evapotranspiration that allows concluding about no increase in the severity of aridity in Kherson oblast in upcoming 30 years. Although it is advisable to reconstruct irrigation, develop afforestation, land reclamation measures along with the introduction of climate-smart cultivation technologies and adaptive crop varieties and hybrids to maintain crop production, preserve agricultural land fertility, provide food security in the region.

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