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The complex and spatially diverse patterns of hydrological droughts across Europe
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  • Dhais Peña-Angulo,
  • Sergio M Vicente-Serrano,
  • Fernando Domínguez-Castro,
  • Jorge Lorenzo-Lacruz,
  • Conor Murphy,
  • Jamie Hannaford,
  • Richard Philip Allan,
  • Yves Tramblay,
  • Fergus Reig‐Gracia,
  • Ahmed EL El-Kenawy
Dhais Peña-Angulo
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IPE-CSIC)

Corresponding Author:dhaispa@gmail.com

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Sergio M Vicente-Serrano
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, CSIC (Spanish Research Council)
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Fernando Domínguez-Castro
Aragonese Agency for Research and Development Researcher (ARAID); and Department of Geography
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Jorge Lorenzo-Lacruz
Department of Human Sciences, University of La Rioja,
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Conor Murphy
Irish Climate Analysis and Research UnitS (ICARUS), Department of Geography, Maynooth University
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Jamie Hannaford
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
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Richard Philip Allan
Reading University
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Yves Tramblay
IRD - Hydrosciences Montpellier
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Fergus Reig‐Gracia
Pyrenean Institute of Ecology
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Ahmed EL El-Kenawy
Mansoura University
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This study presents a new dataset of gauged streamflow (N=3,224) for Europe spanning the period 1962 to 2017. The Monthly Streamflow of Europe Dataset (MSED) is freely available at http://msed.csic.es/. Based on this dataset, changes in the characteristics of hydrological drought (i.e. frequency, duration, and severity) were assessed for different regions of Europe. Due to the density of the database, it is possible to delimit spatial patterns in hydrological droughts trend with the greatest detail available to date. Results reveal bidirectional changes in monthly streamflow, with negative changes predominating over central and southern Europe, while positive trends dominate over northern Europe. Temporally, two dominant patterns were noted. The first pattern corresponds to a consistent downward trend in all months, evident for southern Europe. A second pattern was noted over central and northern Europe and western France, with a predominant negative trend during warm months and a positive trend in cold months. For hydrological drought events, results suggest a positive trend toward more frequent and severe droughts in southern and central Europe and conversely a negative trend over northern Europe. This study emphasizes that hydrological droughts show complex spatial patterns across Europe over the past six decades, implying that hydrological drought behaviour in Europe has a regional character. Accordingly it is challenging to adopt “efficient” strategies and policies to monitor and mitigate drought impacts at the continental level.
Apr 2022Published in Water Resources Research volume 58 issue 4. 10.1029/2022WR031976