Assessment and Monitoring of Droughts in Southeastern Europe: A Review

Nikola Zlatanović and Milan Stojković

 

 

1 Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources, Jaroslava Černog 80, 11226 Pinosava, Belgrade, Serbia; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

 

Abstract

Drought in Southeastern Europe is a hazard with a wide range of transboundary, environmental and socio-economic impacts on various sectors such as agriculture, energy production, public water supply and water quality. Although there are numerous definitions of drought due to the complexity of the phenomenon, it is common to classify droughts into four categories: hydrological, agricultural, meteorological and socio-economic droughts. The importance of drought related studies grows with recent studies on climate change that indicate that the frequency and intensity of droughts in Southeastern Europe is expected to increase over the next decades. Several drought indices are commonly in use in the region, including some which were specifically created to meet regional demands of data availability and drought monitoring capabilities. The growing availability of satellite-based remote sensing data provides options for facilitated calculation of drought indices, further contributing to monitoring and assessment of droughts beyond national borders. This paper provides a review of drought-related information applicable to Southeastern Europe, concentrating on basic drought concepts, drought impacts, as well as an outlook on drought monitoring and the application of remote sensing products for drought monitoring and assessment.

Keywords: drought, Southeast Europe, drought indices, drought monitoring, remote sensing.

 

Introduction

 

Droughts, as recurring extreme climate event over land characterized by below-normal precipitation over a period of months to years, have become an increasingly frequent and widespread phenomenon in Southeastern Europe in recent decades, and climate change scenarios suggest that it is likely that the frequency and intensity of such extreme climate events will increase. The projected climate would exacerbate water shortage and quality problems in many water scarce areas in the region.

A major initiative focused on drought related risks in Southeastern Europe is the Drought Management Centre for Southeastern Europe (DMCSEE, www.dmcsee.org), with a mission to coordinate and facilitate the development, assessment, and application of drought risk management tools and policies in South-Eastern Europe with the goal of improving drought preparedness and reducing drought impacts.

It was established in 2007 in conjunction with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and 13 founding countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey).

More recently, UNESCO's programme for Water and Development Information for Arid Lands – a Global Network (G-WADI, www.gwadi.org) has launched a South East European G-WADI Network in 2014 with a mission to strengthen the capacity to manage the water resources of arid and semi-arid areas in the region through a network of international and regional cooperation.

This paper provides a review of drought-related information applicable to Southeastern Europe, concentrating on basic drought concepts, drought impacts, as well as an outlook on drought monitoring and the application of remote sensing products for drought monitoring and assessment.