EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Drought evolution in North American river basins: attribution analysis through a Lagrangian approach

Rogert Sorí1, Milica Stojanovic1, Luis Gimeno-Sotelo1, Albenis Pérez-Alarcón1,2, Mojtaba Heydarizad3, Marta Vázquez1, José Carlos Fernández-Alvarez1,2, Raquel Nieto1, and Luis Gimeno1
Rogert Sorí et al.
  • 1Centro de Investigación Mariña, Universidade de Vigo, Environmental Physics Laboratory (EPhysLab), Campus As Lagoas s/n, Ourense 32004, Spain (
  • 2Departamento de Meteorología, Instituto Superior de Tecnologías y Ciencias Aplicadas, Universidad de La Habana, 10400 La Habana, Cuba
  • 3Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, 73170, Thailand

Drought events have become more frequent and severe across North America, threatening water availability in river basins and thus ecosystem and socio-economic development. This is why in this study, we investigate the occurrence, evolution, and attribution of drought conditions in nine major North American river basins, the Colorado, Columbia, Fraser, Mackenzie, Mississippi, Rio Grande, Saskatchewan-Nelson, St. Lawrence, and Yukon. The analysis was performed on a spatio-temporal scale for the period 1980-2018. Precipitation data from MSWEP and CRU were used, as well as terrestrial water storage from GRACE. In addition, the Lagrangian moisture contribution from oceanic and terrestrial origin to precipitation over the basins, named PLO and PLT, respectively, were used. Drought indices such as the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), Standardised Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), and Drought Severity Index (DSI) were used to assess the occurrence of dry conditions at various temporal scales. In addition to the attribution of the occurrence and severity of drought extremes due to PLO and PLT deficits, the trend was assessed. The results show that despite the differentiated nature of precipitation origin between the western and eastern basins, in most of them, a joint coupling prevails in the occurrence of positive or negative trends of dry/wet conditions of oceanic and terrestrial origin, which ultimately modulate the evolution of dry/wet conditions in the basins.  

How to cite: Sorí, R., Stojanovic, M., Gimeno-Sotelo, L., Pérez-Alarcón, A., Heydarizad, M., Vázquez, M., Fernández-Alvarez, J. C., Nieto, R., and Gimeno, L.: Drought evolution in North American river basins: attribution analysis through a Lagrangian approach, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-8668,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file