Drought Trends in the Iberian Peninsula over the Last 112 Years

Páscoa P, Gouveia CM, Russo A, Trigo RM
Advances in Meteorology Volume 2017, Article ID 4653126, 13 pages

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The Iberian Peninsula (IP) is a drought-prone area located in the Mediterranean which presents a significant tendency towards dryness during the last decades, reinforcing the need for a continuous monitoring of drought. The long-term evolution of drought in the IP is analyzed, using the Standardized Precipitation Evaporation Index (SPEI) and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), for the period of 1901–2012 and for three subperiods: 1901–1937, 1938–1974, and 1975–2012. SPI and SPEI were calculated with a 12-month time scale, using data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) database. Trends in the drought indices, precipitation, and reference evapotranspiration (ET0) were analysed and series of drought duration, drought magnitude, time between drought events, and mean intensity of the events were computed. SPI and SPEI significant trends show areas with opposite signals in the period 1901–2012, mainly associated with precipitation trends, which are significant and positive in the northwestern region and significant and negative in the southern areas. Additionally, SPEI identified dryer conditions and an increase in the area affected by droughts, which agrees with the increase in ET0. The same spatial differences were identified in the drought duration, magnitude, mean intensity, and time between drought events.