International collaboration to investigate European droughts

A 3-year bilateral research grant from the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) and German Research Foundation (DFG) was awarded to our research team in collaboration with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ. The research project “XEROS: eXtreme EuRopean drOughtS: multimodel synthesis of past, present and future eventsv”, aims to extend our previous work and study the genesis, propagation and recovery of European droughts.

To this end a high-resolution, gridded reconstruction of the droughts that occurred since 1500 CE in the European domain will be created by state-of-the-art hydrological models. The project objectives are separated into three explicit parts, moving from past to future. The first step involves the simulation experiment and the development of the reconstruction (past), the second its analysis to address currently open research questions (present) and the third the utilization of the analysis results to hydrologic and climatic applications (future).

The results of such analysis will provide answers to questions like: What is the extremity of the recent European drought events compared to the 500-year benchmark period? How does the space-time variability of drought evolution change over time? How do the large-scale atmospheric characteristics, responsible to generate land-surface droughts, co-evolve? How can we enhance the reliability of future hydro-climatic projections?

By looking into the extreme drought events of the past we aim to understand the extreme dry conditions that certain regions of Europe face in present and tackle the challenges of the future.