Drought Characterization in Croatia Using E-OBS Gridded Data

SCORE project partners from IST-ID have published a paper in the Water journal. It is available in open access


Droughts are among the major natural hazards that are spreading to many parts of the world, with huge multi-dimensional impacts. An extensive analysis of drought phenomenon is presented for continental Croatia based on a meteorological E-OBS gridded dataset (0.25° × 0.25°), within the period of 1950–2022. The drought events were characterized by the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), applied to different time-scales (6 and 12 months), in order to describe the subannual and annual variability of drought. The spatiotemporal patterns of drought are obtained through principal component analysis (PCA) and K-means clustering (KMC) applied to the SPEI field. An areal drought evolution analysis and the changes in the frequency of occurrence of the periods under drought conditions were achieved using a kernel occurrence rate estimator (KORE). The modified Mann–Kendall (MMK) test, coupled with the Sen’s slope estimator test, are applied to the SPEI series in order to quantify the drought trends throughout the country. According to the history drought events and considering the different morphoclimatic characteristics of the study area, the results showed that Croatia could be divided into three different and spatially well-defined regions with specific temporal and spatial characteristics of droughts (central northern, eastern and southern regions). A manifest increase is shown in the percentage of area affected by drought, as well as in the yearly drought occurrences rates, in both central northern and eastern regions, and an evident decrease is shown in the southern region for both 6- and 12-month SPEI time-scales. In the observation of the drought’s temporal characteristics, it was found that downward trends expressing increasing drought severities were strongly significant in northern and eastern regions, while a few significant upward trends were seen in the southern region. From this study, it is possible to obtain a broader view of the historical behaviour of droughts in Croatia, with the results providing useful support for drought risk assessment and decision-making processes.


Title: Drought Characterization in Croatia Using E-OBS Gridded Data

Authors: F. João Santos, Lidija Tadic, Maria Manuela Portela, Luis Angel Espinosa, and Tamara Brleković

Cite as: Santos, João F., Lidija Tadic, Maria Manuela Portela, Luis Angel Espinosa, and Tamara Brleković. ‘Drought Characterization in Croatia Using E-OBS Gridded Data’, 31 October 2023. https://doi.org/10.3390/w15213806


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