Two consecutive dry years, 2018 and 2019, a warm winter in 2019/20, and a very dry spring in 2020 led to the development of severe drought in Poland. In this paper, changes in the Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) for the interval from 1971 to the end of May 2020 are examined. The values of SPEI (based on 12, 24 and 30 month windows, i.e., SPEI 12, SPEI 24 and SPEI 30) were calculated with the help of the Penman–Monteith equation. Changes in soil moisture contents were also examined from January 2000 to May 2020, based on data from the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center, presenting increasing water shortages in a central belt of Poland. The study showed that the 2020 spring drought was among the most severe events in the analyzed period and presented decreasing trends of SPEI at most stations located in central Poland. This study also determined changes in soil moisture contents from January 2000 to May 2020 that indicate a decreasing tendency. Cumulative water shortages from year to year led to the development of severe drought in the spring of 2020, as reflected in very low SPEI values and low soil moisture.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited