Catchment memory explains hydrological drought forecast performance

Samuel Jonson Sutanto*, Henny A.J. Van Lanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrological drought forecasts outperform meteorological ones, which is anticipated coming from catchment memory. Yet, the importance of catchment memory in explaining hydrological drought forecast performance has not been studied. Here, we use the Baseflow Index (BFI) and the groundwater Recession Coefficient (gRC), which through the streamflow, give information on the catchment memory. Performance of streamflow drought forecasts was evaluated using the Brier Score (BS) for rivers across Europe. We found that BS is negatively correlated with BFI, meaning that rivers with high BFI (large memory) yield better drought prediction (low BS). A significant positive correlation between gRC and BS demonstrates that catchments slowly releasing groundwater to streams (low gRC), i.e. large memory, generates higher drought forecast performance. The higher performance of hydrological drought forecasts in catchments with relatively large memory (high BFI and low gRC) implies that Drought Early Warning Systems have more potential to be implemented there and will appear to be more useful.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2689
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Catchment memory explains hydrological drought forecast performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this