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Drought in Europe: state of the research and challenges



Englersaal, WSL Birmensdorf (video-link to SLF Davos)

Organized by:

Rosmarie Büchi


Dr. Anne F. Van Loon, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, GB-University of Birmingham

Moderated by:

Massimiliano Zappa



Type of event:

Distinguished Lectures

Target audience:

everybody interested in this topic

Dr. Anne F. Van Loon

Drought not only affects semi-arid regions, like in Africa. Also Europe has experienced severe drought events over the past decade, for example in 2003, 2011, and 2015. In a collaborative effort started by the UNESCO FRIEND NE Europe Low Flow and Drought group and the European Drought Centre, researchers from around Europe have combined data and tools to characterise the impacts and the meteorological and hydrological drivers of the 2015 drought event and compare it to previous events like 2003. In absence of real-time groundwater data, we also tested methods based on precipitation and GRACE satellite data to characterise the groundwater drought situation for these events. A major challenge in characterising and managing hydrological drought in Europe is the large influence of anthropogenic activities, both alleviating and aggravating drought in river flow and groundwater. Under the umbrella of the international IAHS initiative Panta Rhei, the working group “Drought in the Anthropocene” is developing methods to quantify and understand the anthropogenic drivers of hydrological drought. In this presentation, I will discuss the state of the research on drought in Europe and present some ideas for the way forward.