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Changes in the compound drought and extreme heat occurrence in the 1961–2018 period at the European scale

  • Bezak, Nejc
  • Mikoš, Matjaž
Publication Date
Feb 13, 2021
University of Ljubljana
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Compound extreme weather events can cause large economic damage and endanger human lives. Therefore, identification of changes in such compound event frequency and magnitude is important information that could be useful for decision makers and practitioners in water management and agriculture sector. This is especially the case for dry hazards that can be significantly influenced by the increasing air temperature and can have significant impact on water availability and consumption as well as on agricultural production. This study investigated changes in the compound occurrence of drought and extreme heat at the European scale using Uncertainties in Ensembles of Regional Reanalyses (UERRA) regional reanalysis data for the 1961–2018 period. The effective drought index (EDI) and the air temperature percentile threshold were used for the identification of the compound events at the catchment scale where entire Europe was divided into more than 4000 catchments. The results revealed multiple hotspots of compound drought and extreme heat events such as parts of Western Europe, Italy, Balkan Peninsula and Northern and Eastern Europe. At the continental scale, no uniform trend pattern could be detected. However, multiple areas with either positive or negative changes were identified. A positive change was characteristic for parts of Western Europe, Italy, Balkan Peninsula, etc. In these cases, the trend was mostly driven by the decreasing total precipitation trend and was not directly affected by the increasing air temperature trend. Areas with negative changes include parts of Northern and Eastern Europe and British Isles. In these cases, the detected trend was mostly driven by an increasing total precipitation trend. However, local drivers could be different.

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