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Water 2018, 10(4), 467; doi:10.3390/w10040467

Anomalies in Moisture Supply during the 2003 Drought Event in Europe: A Lagrangian Analysis

Environmental Physics Laboratory (EPhysLab), Facultade de Ciencias, Universidade de Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
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Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract

In the last few decades, many studies have identified an increasing number of natural hazards associated with extreme precipitation and drought events in Europe. During the 20th century, the climate in Central Europe and the Mediterranean region was characterised by an overall temperature increase, and the beginning of the 21st century has been marked by severe and prolonged drought events. The aim of this study is to analyse variations in the moisture supply during the 2003 drought episode that affected large portions of Europe. In order to better characterise the evolution of the episodes across the continent, separate analyses were performed for two spatial domains: Central Europe and the Mediterranean region. These regions were defined according to the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report. For both regions, this drought episode was most severe from 1980 to 2015, according to the one-month Standardised Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI-1) analysis, which was conducted using monthly precipitation and potential evapotranspiration data from the Climate Research Unit. Analyses of precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, pressure velocity at 500 hPa, and vertically integrated moisture flux were conducted to characterise the anomalous patterns over the regions during the event. A Lagrangian approach was then applied in order to investigate possible continental-scale changes in the moisture supply over the Central European and Mediterranean regions during 2003. This approach is based on the FLEXible PARTicle (FLEXPART) dispersion model, integrated with data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF): the ECMWF Re-Analysis ERA-Interim. The results indicate that anomalous subsidence, increased evapotranspiration, and reduced precipitation predominated over both regions during the episode. The most intense reduction in the moisture supply over Central Europe was registered for the Mediterranean Sea (MDS) and the Central European region, while for the Mediterranean region, most intense reduction in the moisture supply was observed in the MDS and—in minor-scale—Gibraltar regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; Mediterranean region; Central Europe; Lagrangian method; Standardised Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index drought; Mediterranean region; Central Europe; Lagrangian method; Standardised Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index
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Stojanovic, M.; Drumond, A.; Nieto, R.; Gimeno, L. Anomalies in Moisture Supply during the 2003 Drought Event in Europe: A Lagrangian Analysis. Water 2018, 10, 467.

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