Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-24
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-24

  01 Mar 2021

01 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

An Alpine Drought Impact Inventory to explore past droughts in a mountain region

Ruth Stephan1, Mathilde Erfurt1, Stefano Terzi2, Maja Žun3, Boštjan Kristan4, Klaus Haslinger5, and Kerstin Stahl1 Ruth Stephan et al.
  • 1Environmental Hydrological Systems, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, 79098, Germany
  • 2Institute for Earth Observation, Eurac Research, Viale Druso 1, 39100, Bolzano, Italy
  • 3Slovenian Environment Agency, Vojkova 1b, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 4Slovene Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry, Institute of Agriculture and Forestry Maribor, Vinarska ulica 14, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
  • 5Climate Research Department, Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), Hohe Warte 38, 1190 Vienna, Austria

Abstract. Drought affects even mountain regions, despite a humid climate. Droughts' damaging character in the past and an increasing probability in future projections call for an understanding of drought impacts in the European Alpine region. The European Drought Impact Report Inventory (EDII) collects text reports on negative drought impacts. This study presents a considerably updated EDII focusing on the study region of the greater Alpine Space. This first version release of an Alpine Drought Impact Inventory (EDIIALPS) classifies impact reports into categories covering various affected sectors and enables comparisons of the drought impact characteristics. We analyzed the distribution of reported impacts on the spatial, temporal and seasonal scale, and by drought type for soil-moisture and hydrological drought. For the spatial analysis, we compared the impact data located in the Alpine Space' to entire Europe. Further, we compared impact data between different climatic and altitudinal domains (Northern vs. Southern region, pre-Alpine vs. high-altitude region), and between the Alpine countries. Compared to entire Europe, in the Alpine Space agriculture and livestock farming impacts are even more frequently reported, especially in the Southern region. Public water supply is second most relevant sector, but overall less prominent compared to Europe, especially in spring when snowmelt mitigates water shortages. Impacts occurred mostly in summer and early autumn with a delay between those impacts initiated by soil-moisture and those by hydrological drought. The high-altitude region showed this effect the strongest. From 1975 to 2020, the number of archived reports increased, with substantially more impacts noted during the drought events of 1976, 2003, 2015 and 2018. Moreover, reported impacts diversified from agricultural dominance to multi-facetted impact types covering forestry, water quality, industry and so forth. Though EDIIALPS is biased by reporting behaviour, the amount of more than 3200 compiled reports on negative drought impacts demonstrates the need to move from emergency actions to better preparedness. These may be guided by EDIIALPS' insights to regional patterns, seasons and drought types.

Ruth Stephan et al.

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-24', Anne Van Loon, 23 Mar 2021 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Ruth Stephan, 08 Apr 2021 reply
      • RC2: 'Reply on AC1', Anne Van Loon, 08 Apr 2021 reply
        • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Ruth Stephan, 20 Apr 2021 reply

Ruth Stephan et al.

Ruth Stephan et al.

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Short summary
The database Alpine Drought Impact Inventory (EDIIALPS) archieves negative drought impacts in the Alpine Space region as text reports. The study presents the European Alpine region vulnerable to drought, despite its water-rich character. The most affected sectors were agriculture and livestock farming and public water supply, wherefore management strategies are essential for future climate regimes. We show an increasing trend, regional and seasonal differences that need to be considered.
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