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Evidence of increasing drought severity caused by temperature rise in southern Europe

AuthorsVicente Serrano, Sergio M. CSIC ORCID ; López-Moreno, Juan I. CSIC ORCID ; Beguería, Santiago CSIC ORCID ; Lorenzo-Lacruz, Jorge CSIC ORCID; Sánchez-Lorenzo, Arturo CSIC ORCID ; García-Ruiz, José María CSIC ORCID ; Azorín-Molina, César CSIC ORCID; Morán-Tejeda, Enrique CSIC ORCID CVN; Revuelto, Jesús CSIC ORCID; Trigo, Ricardo M.; Coelho, Fatima; Espejo, Francisco
Climatic Change
Water Resources
Issue DateApr-2014
PublisherInstitute of Physics Publishing
CitationVicente-Serrano SM, López-Moreno JI, Beguería S, Lorenzo-Lacruz J, Sánchez-Lorenzo A, García-Ruiz JM, Azorín-Molina E, Morán-Tejeda E, Revuelto J, Trigo R, Coelho F, Espejo F. Evidence of increasing drought severity caused by temperature rise in southern Europe. Environmental Research Letters 9 (4): 44001 (2014)
AbstractWe use high quality climate data from ground meteorological stations in the Iberian Peninsula (IP) and robust drought indices to confirm that drought severity has increased in the past five decades, as a consequence of greater atmospheric evaporative demand resulting from temperature rise. Increased drought severity is independent of the model used to quantify the reference evapotranspiration. We have also focused on drought impacts to drought-sensitive systems, such as river discharge, by analyzing streamflow data for 287 rivers in the IP, and found that hydrological drought frequency and severity have also increased in the past five decades in natural, regulated and highly regulated basins. Recent positive trend in the atmospheric water demand has had a direct influence on the temporal evolution of streamflows, clearly identified during the warm season, in which higher evapotranspiration rates are recorded. This pattern of increase in evaporative demand and greater drought severity is probably applicable to other semiarid regions of the world, including other Mediterranean areas, the Sahel, southern Australia and South Africa, and can be expected to increasingly compromise water supplies and cause political, social and economic tensions among regions in the near future.
Description9 Pags., 6 Figs. The Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the of the work, journal citation and DOI.
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