Articles | Volume 17
20 Jun 2008
 | 20 Jun 2008

Climate change effects on drought severity

A. Loukas, L. Vasiliades, and J. Tzabiras

Abstract. This paper evaluates climate change effects on drought severity in the region of Thessaly, Greece. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) has been used for estimation of drought severity. A geographical information system is applied for the division of Thessaly region to twelve hydrological homogeneous areas based on their geomorphology. Mean monthly precipitation values from 50 precipitation stations of Thessaly for the hydrological period October 1960–September 1990 were used for the estimation of mean areal precipitation. These precipitation timeseries have been used for the estimation of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) for multiple time scales (1-, 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-months) for each sub-basin or area. The outputs of Global Circulation Model CGCM2 were applied for two socioeconomic scenarios, namely, SRES A2 and SRES B2 for the assessment of climate change impact on droughts. The GCM outputs were downscaled to the region of Thessaly using a statistical methodology to estimate precipitation time series for two future periods 2020–2050 and 2070–2100. A method has been proposed for the estimation of annual cumulative drought severity-time scale-frequency curves. These curves integrate the drought severity and frequency for various types of drought. The SPI timeseries and annual weighted cumulative drought severity were estimated and compared with the respective timeseries and values of the historical period 1960–1990. The results showed that the annual drought severity is increased for all hydrological areas and SPI time scales, with the socioeconomic scenario SRES A2 being the most extreme.