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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-199
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Jul 2018

Research article | 16 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

On the use of Weather Regimes to forecast meteorological drought over Europe

Christophe Lavaysse1,2, Jürgen Vogt1, Andrea Toreti1, Marco L. Carrera3, and Florian Pappenberger4 Christophe Lavaysse et al.
  • 1European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
  • 2Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, G-INP, IGE, F-38000 Grenoble, France
  • 3Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, QC, Canada
  • 4ECMWF, Reading, United Kingdo

Abstract. An early warning system for drought events can provide valuable information for decision makers dealing with water resources management and international aid. However, predicting such extreme events is still a big challenge. In this study, we compare two approaches for drought predictions based, respectively, on forecasted precipitation derived from the extended ENSemble system of the ECMWF, and on forecasted Monthly Occurrence Anomaly of Weather Regimes (MOAWRs) also derived from the ECMWF model.

Results show that the MOAWRs approach outperforms the one based on forecasted precipitation in winter in the northern and eastern parts of the European continent, where more than 65% of droughts are detected one month in advance. While, the approach based on forecasted precipitation achieves better performance in predicting drought events in central and eastern Europe in both spring and summer, when the local atmospheric forcing could be the key driver of the precipitation. Sensitivity tests also reveal the challenges in predicting small-scales and onset drought events at longer lead times.

Finally, in most of the cases, the ENSemble system of the ECMWF successfully represents the observed large scale atmospheric patterns, depicted by the MOAWRs, associated with drought events over Europe.

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Short summary
Forecasting droughts in Europe one month in advance would provide valuable information for decision makers. However, these extreme events are still difficult to predict. In this study, we develop forecasts based on predictors using the geopotential anomalies, generally more predictable than precipitation, derived from the ECMWF model. Results show that this approach outperforms the prediction using precipitation, especially in Winter and in Northern Europe, where 65 % of droughts are predicted.
Forecasting droughts in Europe one month in advance would provide valuable information for...
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