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Title

The European 2016/17 drought

AuthorsGarcía Herrera, Ricardo ; Barriopedro, D.; Garrido-Perez, J. M.; Ordóñez, C.; Vicente Serrano, Sergio M. ; Nieto, R.; Gimeno, L.; Sorí, R.; Yiou, P.
Issue Date2019
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
CitationJournal of Climate 32: 3169- 3187 (2019)
AbstractWe have analyzed the record-breaking drought that affected western and central Europe from July 2016 to June 2017. It caused widespread impacts on water supplies, agriculture, and hydroelectric power production, and was associated with forest fires in Iberia. Unlike common continental-scale droughts, this event displayed a highly unusual spatial pattern affecting both northern and southern European regions.Drought conditions were observed over 90% of central-western Europe, hitting record-breaking values (with respect to 1979-2017) in 25%of the area. Therefore, the event can be considered as themost severe European drought at the continental scale since at least 1979. Themain dynamical forcing of the drought was the consecutive occurrence of blocking and subtropical ridges, sometimes displaced from their typical locations. This led to latitudinal shifts of the jet stream and record-breaking positive geopotential height anomalies over most of the continent. The reduction in moisture transport from the Atlantic was relevant in the northern part of the region, where decreased precipitation and increased sunshine duration were the main contributors to the drought. On the other hand, thermodynamic processes, mostly associated with high temperatures and the resulting increase in atmospheric evaporative demand, were more important in the south. Finally, using flow circulation analogs we show that this drought was more severe than it would have been in the early past.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0331.1
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/207941
DOI10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0331.1
Identifiersdoi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0331.1
issn: 0894-8755
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