This study compares the relative importance of global temperature change and local moisture deficit in influencing the frequency of hot extremes on a global scale. For the first time, the wavelet decomposed GRACE terrestrial water storage is applied in examining the relationship between soil moisture (θ) and the number of hot days in the hottest month (NHD). It reveals stronger θ-NHD relationships over larger areas than the selected commonly used soil moisture proxies (i.e., standardised precipitation index and a GLDAS model-derived product). During 1985–2015, local moisture deficit played a more important role in influencing hot extreme occurrences in the regions with relatively flat topography, thick soil and where inter-annual rainfall variability is large. They cover an area 1.6 times larger than the areas (e.g., mountain ranges, deserts) where the global temperature change has posed a stronger influence. Under a continuing increase of greenhouse gas forcing, global actions in reducing emissions will support combating the expansion of hot extremes. However, this study shows that necessary attention should also be directed to mitigating the moisture deficit exacerbating hot extremes, e. g., through regional adaptive land management.
- Dominance analysis
- GRACE TWS
- Hot extremes
- Soil moisture-temperature coupling
- Wavelet decomposition