EGU2020-7159
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7159
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Components of past cold mega-droughts and modern warm dry events in central Europe could interfere constructively in the future

Monica Ionita-Scholz1, Mihai Dima2, Viorica Nagavciuc1,3, Patrick Scholz1, and Gerrit Lohmann1
Monica Ionita-Scholz et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Paleoclimate Dynamics, Bremerhaven, Germany (monica.ionita@awi.de)
  • 2Faculty of Physics, Bucharest University, Bucharest, Romania
  • 3Faculty of Forestry, Ștefan cel Mare University, Suceava, Romania

Mega-droughts are notable manifestations of the American Southwest, but not so much of the European climate. By using long-term hydrological and meteorological observations, as well as paleoclimate reconstructions, we show that central Europe has experienced much longer and severe droughts during the Spörer Minimum (~AD 1400 – 1500) and Dalton Minimum (~AD 1770 – 1850), than the ones observed during the 21st century. These two mega-droughts appear to be linked with a weak state of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and enhanced winter atmospheric blocking activity over the British islands and western part of Europe, associated with reduced solar forcing and explosive volcanism. In contrast with these mega-droughts, present-day extreme dry events in Europe are mainly related to high temperature levels. Since numerical simulations indicate a future slowdown of AMOC in a globally warming world, we argue that these two forcing factors for droughts, weakening ocean circulation and temperature increase, could interfere constructively in the future. Consequently, this will potentially lead to an increase in the frequency of hot and dry summers, especially over the central part of Europe, posing enormous challenges to governments and society.

How to cite: Ionita-Scholz, M., Dima, M., Nagavciuc, V., Scholz, P., and Lohmann, G.: Components of past cold mega-droughts and modern warm dry events in central Europe could interfere constructively in the future, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7159, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7159, 2020