Impact of Climate Change on Agricultural Droughts in Spain
Jiménez-Donaire, María del Pilar
Giráldez Cervera, Juan Vicente
Plant water stress
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Drought is an important natural hazard that is expected to increase in frequency and intensity as a consequence of climate change. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of future changes in the temperature and precipitation regime of Spain on agricultural droughts, using novel static and dynamic drought indices. Statistically downscaled climate change scenarios from the model HadGEM2-CC, under the scenario representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5), were used at a total of 374 sites for the period 2006 to 2100. The evolution of static and dynamic drought stress indices over time show clearly how drought frequency, duration and intensity increase over time. Values of static and dynamic drought indices increase over time, with more frequent occurrences of maximum index values equal to 1, especially towards the end of the century (2071–2100). Spatially, the increase occurs over almost the entire area, except in the more humid northern Spain, and in areas that are already dry at present, which are located in southeast Spain and in the Ebro valley. This study confirms the potential of static and dynamic indices for monitoring and prediction of drought stress.