Impact of climate change on streamflow droughts

Over the past 30 years, Europe has been affected by a number of major drought events, most notably in 1976, 1989, 1991, and more recently, the prolonged event over large parts of Europe associated with the summer heat wave in 2003. The most serious drought in the Iberian Peninsula in 60 years occurred in 2005, reducing overall EU cereal yields by an estimated ten per cent (UNEP, 2006). Since 1991, the yearly average economic impact of droughts in Europe was €5.3 billion, with the economic damage of the 2003 drought in Europe amounting to at least €8.7 billion (EC, 2007).

Future climate projections suggest that global warming is likely to favour conditions for the development of droughts in many regions of Europe. Results of a pan-European assessment of changes in low flow characteristics indicate that southern parts of Europe are most prone to reductions in minimum flow. Deficit volumes will become more severe in large parts of Europe, except for the most northern and north-eastern regions (for more details, see Feyen and Dankers, 2009). 

Relative change in 7-day minimum flow with a recurrence interval of 10 years in the scenario run (2071-2100) relative to the control run (1961-1990). Simulations are based on the SRES A2 scenario. Only the non-frost season is considered (see Feyen and Dankers, 2009)
Change in minimum flow

Relative change in flow deficit volumes with a recurrence interval of 10 years in the scenario run (2071-2100) relative to the control run (1961-1990). Simulations are based on the SRES A2 scenario. Only the non-frost season is considered. Thin gray lines indicate river sections where the number of events in the scenario period was less than 10 and no GP distribution was fitted (see Feyen and Dankers, 2009)
Change in deficit volume Change in deficit volume

 
 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:17