EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Increasing footprint of climate warming on flash droughts occurrence in Europe

Jignesh Shah1, Vittal Hari1, Oldrich Rakovec1, Yannis Markonis2, Luis Samaniego1, Vimal Mishra3, Martin Hanel2, Christoph Hinz4, and Rohini Kumar1
Jignesh Shah et al.
  • 1Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ, Department of Computational Hydrosystems, Leipzig, Germany (
  • 2Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 3Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, Gandhinagar, India
  • 4Brandenburg University of Technology, Chair of Hydrology, Cottbus, Germany

Flash droughts cause a rapid depletion of soil moisture, which severely affect vegetation growth and agricultural production. Notwithstanding the growing importance of flash droughts under the warming climate, drivers of flash droughts across the Europe are not well understood. Here we estimate the changes in flash droughts characteristics across Europe using the latest release of ERA5 reanalysis for 1950-2019 period. We find a substantial increase in the frequency and spatial extent of flash droughts across Europe (with 76\% of the total area) during the growing season in the recent decades. Increased occurrence of flash drought is largely attributed to frequent occurrence of warmer and drier compound extremes, with a sharp gradient of changes being noticed in Mediterranean and Central European regions. Compound extremes causing the flash drought events across Europe are pre-dominantly driven by the recent climate warming. With unabated greenhouse gas emissions and current pace of climate warming, Europe is likely to face an increased occurrence of flash droughts, requiring prompt response for effective drought adaptation and management strategies.

How to cite: Shah, J., Hari, V., Rakovec, O., Markonis, Y., Samaniego, L., Mishra, V., Hanel, M., Hinz, C., and Kumar, R.: Increasing footprint of climate warming on flash droughts occurrence in Europe, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4944,, 2022.