Department für Geographie





17.09.2021  Ludwig, R.
New publication on "Hot Spots and Climate Trends of Meteorological Droughts in Europe"

Liebe Interessierte,

es ist ein neuer Artikel der AG Umweltmodellierung in "Frontiers in Water" erschienen; Andrea Böhnisch und Magdalena Mittermeier teilen sich dabei die Erstautorenschaft:

Böhnisch A, Mittermeier M, Leduc M and Ludwig R (2021) Hot Spots and Climate Trends of Meteorological Droughts in Europe–Assessing the Percent of Normal Index in a Single-Model Initial-Condition Large Ensemble. Front. Water 3:716621.

Drought, caused by a prolonged deficit of precipitation, bears the risk of severe economic and ecological consequences for affected societies. The occurrence of this significant hydro-meteorological hazard is expected to strongly increase in many regions due to climate change, however, it is also subject to high internal climate variability. This calls for an assessment of climate trends and hot spots that considers the variations due to internal variability. In this study, the percent of normal index (PNI), an index that describes meteorological droughts by the deviation of a long-term reference mean, is analyzed in a single-model initial-condition large ensemble (SMILE) of the Canadian regional climate model version 5 (CRCM5) over Europe. A far future horizon under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 is compared to the present-day climate and a pre-industrial reference, which is derived from pi-control runs of the CRCM5 representing a counterfactual world without anthropogenic climate change. Our analysis of the SMILE reveals a high internal variability of drought occurrence over Europe. Considering the high internal variability, our results show a clear overall increase in the duration, number and intensity of droughts toward the far future horizon. We furthermore find a strong seasonal divergence with a distinct increase in summer droughts and a decrease in winter droughts in most regions. Additionally, the percentage of summer droughts followed by wet winters is increasing in all regions except for the Iberian Peninsula. Because of particularly severe drying trends, the Alps, the Mediterranean, France and the Iberian Peninsula are suggested to be considered as drought hot spots. Due to the simplicity and intuitivity of the PNI, our results derived from this index are particularly appropriate for region-specific communication purposes and outreach.

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