Articles | Volume 19, issue 1
Research article
12 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 12 Jan 2015

Estimating the water needed to end the drought or reduce the drought severity in the Carpathian region

T. Antofie, G. Naumann, J. Spinoni, and J. Vogt

Abstract. A drought severity climatology for the Carpathian region has been produced using the self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (Sc-PDSI) for the period 1961–2010. Using the Sc-PDSI and the assumptions of the Palmer drought model (PDM) the precipitation required for drought termination (when Sc-PDSI reaches −0.5) and amelioration (when Sc-PDSI reaches −2.0) are computed for periods of 1, 3, and 6 months. We discuss the reduction of the uncertainty in the determination of the beginning and ending of drought conditions, and provide a quantitative measure of the probability that any drought could be ameliorated or terminated. We present how the spatial variability of the amount of water needed for drought recovery and the climatological probability of receiving that amount of water is determined by the local conditions against the general climate characteristics of a small area such as the Carpathian region. Regionally, the Pannonian Basin, the Transylvanian Plateau and the external Carpathian foothills and plains in the southern and eastern part of the region require the highest quantity of precipitation to recover from a drought while having the lowest climatological probabilities for such amounts of rainfall. High precipitation amounts over the northern and northwest part of the region result in higher soil moisture supplies and higher climatological probabilities to end a given drought event. Moreover, the succession and/or predominance of particular types of general atmospheric circulation patterns produce a seasonal cycle and inter-annual variability of precipitation that is quantitatively reflected in the excess of precipitation that is above normal required for drought recovery. Overall, the results of this study provide an overview on the chances of recovery from a drought period with moderate or severe drought and present information useful in decision making in water and drought management.