Hydrological Drought Characteristics Based on Groundwater and Runoff across Europe

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrological drought often gets less attention compared to meteorological drought. For water resources managers, information on hydrological drought characteristics is prerequisite for adequate drought planning and management. Therefore, the aim of this study is to analyse hydrological drought characteristics in the pan-European region based on past drought events from 1990 to 2017. The annual average drought duration, deficit volume, onset, termination, and intensity during drought years were calculated using daily runoff and groundwater data. All data were simulated with the LISFLOOD hydrological model (resolution 5×5km) fed with gridded time series of observed weather data. Results based on runoff and groundwater data show that regions in Northeast to Southeast Europe, which stretched out from Poland to Bulgaria, were identified as profound regions to severe hydrological drought hazards. The most severe droughts during our study period were observed in 1992 to 1997, where on average Europe experienced drought events, which lasted up to 4 months. Long average drought durations up to 4 and 8 months in runoff and groundwater occurred in a few parts of the European regions (around 10% area). Longer drought durations and a lower number of drought events were found in groundwater drought than in runoff, which proved that slow responding variables (groundwater) are better in showing extreme drought compared to fast responding variables (runoff). Based on our results, the water managers can better prepare for upcoming drought and foster drought adaptation actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalIAHS Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2020
Event8th Global FRIEND-Water Conference: Hydrological Processes and Water Security in a Changing World - Beijing, China
Duration: 6 Nov 20189 Nov 2018


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