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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-424
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-424
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Feb 2020

26 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal NHESS.

Exploring the added value of a long-term multidisciplinary dataset in drought research – a drought catalogue for southwestern Germany dating back to 1801

Mathilde Erfurt1, Georgios Skiadaresis2, Erik Tijdeman3, Veit Blauhut4, Jürgen Bauhus2, Rüdiger Glaser1, Julia Schwarz2, Willy Tegel5, and Kerstin Stahl4 Mathilde Erfurt et al.
  • 1Environmental Social Science and Geography, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg i. Br., 79085, Germany
  • 2Chair of Silviculture, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg i. Br., 79085, Germany
  • 3Institute of Geography, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, 69117, Germany
  • 4Environmental Hydrological Systems, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg i. Br., 79085, Germany
  • 5Chair of Forest Growth and Dendroecology, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg i. Br., 79085, Germany

Abstract. Droughts are multidimensional hazards that can lead to substantial environmental and societal impacts. To understand causes and impacts, multiple variables need to be considered. Many studies identified past drought events and investigated drought propagation from meteorological droughts via soil moisture to hydrological droughts and some studies have included the impacts of these different types of drought. Here, we analyse different droughts and their impacts in a regional context using a multidisciplinary approach and compiled a comprehensive and long-term data set to place recent drought events into a historical context. We assembled a dataset of drought indices and recorded impacts over the last 218 years in southwestern Germany. Meteorological and river-flow indices were used to assess the natural drought dynamics. In addition, tree-ring data and recorded impacts were utilized to investigate drought events from an ecological and social perspective. Since 1801, 20 extreme droughts were identified as common extreme events when applying the different indicators. All events were associated with societal impacts. Our multi-dataset approach provides insights into similarities but also the unique aspects of different drought indices and highlights the unprecedented frequency and severity of droughts in the 21st century.

Mathilde Erfurt et al.

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Mathilde Erfurt et al.

Mathilde Erfurt et al.

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Short summary
Droughts are multifaceted hazards with widespread negative consequences for environment and society. This study explores different perspectives on drought and determines the added value of multidisciplinary datasets for a comprehensive understanding of past drought events in southwestern Germany. A long-term evaluation of drought frequency since 1801 revealed: Events occurred in all decades, but a particular clustering was found in the mid-19th century and the most recent decade.
Droughts are multifaceted hazards with widespread negative consequences for environment and...
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