Project objectives

The main objectives of Drought-R&SPI are to:

  1. Foster a better understanding of past droughts (underlying processes, occurrences, incl. frequencies, severities and scales) and in particular to investigate driving factors and characteristics of the most extreme historic events at the pan-European scale, which will be validated against observed natural hazards at the small scale (case studies)
     
  2. Provide an in-depth understanding of the range of pertinent environmental and socio-economic impacts triggered by past drought hazards in different contexts, taking into account economic, political, and social factors at a small scale in water-stressed regions (case studies) and considering the large-scale drivers (transfer of knowledge and information across scales)
     
  3. Evaluate past responses to drought events at the local, river basin and national scale (case studies), and identify best practice examples and lessons learnt in alleviating drought impacts and reducing associated risks from different local environments, which are crucial for the development of methodologies for drought management planning
     
  4. Develop and test an innovative suite of drought indicators that integrate physical, impact and vulnerability indices, which will address different spatio-temporal scales and water-related sectors, and that will build upon: (i) the comprehensive knowledge obtained in different contexts at the detailed scale (case studies), and (ii) exploration of the link between impact records (socio-economic, environmental), management factors and vulnerability thresholds across Europe. Development and testing will be linked and shared with research done through the European Drought Observatory (EDO)  at the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Waterbase, WSDIS and WISE (European Environmental Agency, EEA)
     
  5. Develop an innovative methodology for early warning (monitoring and forecasting) of drought at the pan-European scale using the developed suite of indicators, which will help to: (i) to increase drought preparedness, and (ii) to identify and implement appropriate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures. Drought-R&SPI will share the obtained knowledge and information with the JRC, which are designing and developing a pre-operational version
     
  6. Establish Dialogue Fora at different scales, i.e. Science-Policy Interfacing, (i) to identify and evaluate, in close collaboration with the Case Study Fora, potential responses for drought risk mitigation, taking into account the drought hazard, its impacts, vulnerabilities and desired development goals, strategies and relevant trade-offs, and (ii) to recognize and assess, in close dialogue with a pan-European Forum through an iteration process with feedback loops, how EU and other international policies affect potential responses at the small scale (case studies). Finally, how these together with large-scale impact maps and vulnerabilities will support design, development or implementation of drought-related international policies and planning, incl. Drought Management Plans at different scale (river basin to EU level)
     
  7. Assess the drought hazard at the pan-European scale in the 21st Century (future climate) and identify drought sensitive regions through combining improved knowledge on past events and related long-term climate variability with projected future changes, incl. the analyses of the outcome from multi-models and multi-scenarios
     
  8. Assess potential vulnerabilities of the studied systems at the local, river basin and national scale in water stressed areas (case studies), taking into account the assessment of the large-scale 21st Century drought hazard, socio-economic drivers of change and anticipated impacts of relevant EU policies, which is essential for development of drought management planning
     
  9. Assess changes in the modelled impacts for the 21st Century and resulting changes in risk of passing a vulnerability threshold at the pan-European scale in co-operation with the pan-European Dialogue Forum to identify drought sensitive sectors, incl. their geographical location
     
  10. Share knowledge on drought with the general public through a web-based information and discussion platform hosted by the European Drought Centre (EDC), and to disseminate knowledge through a summer school and on the proposed 2nd Drought Conference as follow-up of the first conference held in Brussels, February 2010

Project objectives

  • Drought as a natural hazard, incl. climate drivers, drought generating processes and occurrences
  • Environmental and socio-economic impacts
  • Vulnerabilities, risks and policy responses, incl. the further development of drought management plans in support of EU and other international policies