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Drought termination: concept and characterisation

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journal contribution
posted on 09.06.2016 by Simon Parry, Christel Prudhomme, Robert Wilby, Paul Wood
There are numerous anecdotal examples of drought terminations documented throughout the historical record on most continents. The end of a drought is the critical time during which water resource managers urgently require information on the replenishment of supplies. Yet this phase has been relatively neglected by the academic community, with much of the existing body of research on drought termination assessing the likelihood of droughts ending rather than its temporal profile. In particular, there has been little effort to characterise drought termination events themselves. This is partly explained by existing definitions of drought termination as a specific point in time when drought is considered to have finished, rather than a more holistic consideration based on approaches developed within biological sciences. There is also a lack of understanding about how drought termination propagates through the hydrological cycle. This paper specifically examines and reviews available research on drought termination, highlighting limitations associated with current definitions and offering suggestions for characterising the temporal stages of drought. An alternative definition of drought termination is proposed: a period between the maximum negative anomaly and a return to above average conditions. Once this phase has been delineated, the duration, rate and seasonality of drought termination can be derived. The utility of these metrics is illustrated through a case study of the 2010-12 drought in the United Kingdom, and the propagation of drought termination between river flows and groundwater levels.

Funding

This research was funded through the Learning & Development programme at the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Progress in Physical Geography: an international review of geographical work in the natural and environmental sciences

Citation

PARRY, S. ...et al., 2016. Drought termination: concept and characterisation. Progress in Physical Geography: an international review of geographical work in the natural and environmental sciences, 40(4), pp.743-767.

Publisher

© The Authors. Published by SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International (CC BY 3.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Acceptance date

30/04/2016

Publication date

2016

Notes

This is an open access article published by Sage and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 3.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

ISSN

0309-1333

eISSN

1477-0296

Language

en

Licence

Exports