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Old World Drought Atlas

Associated Agencies

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

Climate model projections suggest widespread drying in the Mediterranean Basin and wetting in Fennoscandia in the coming decades largely as a consequence of greenhouse gas forcing of climate. To place these and other "Old World" climate projections into historical perspective based on more complete estimates of natural hydroclimatic variability, we have developed the "Old World Drought Atlas" (OWDA), a set of year-to-year maps of tree-ring reconstructed summer wetness and dryness over Europe and the Mediterranean Basin during the Common Era. The OWDA matches historical accounts of severe drought and wetness with a spatial completeness not previously available. In addition, megadroughts reconstructed over north-central Europe in the 11th and mid-15th centuries reinforce other evidence from North America and Asia that droughts were more severe, extensive, and prolonged over Northern Hemisphere land areas before the 20th century, with an inadequate understanding of their causes. The OWDA provides new data to determine the causes of Old World drought and wetness and attribute past climate variability to forced and/or internal variability.

How to

How to use this site:

  • View “Data Description” under “Data Download” for detailed information about this product
  • Data available in netCDF or text format
  • Download ZIP data to view annual image maps or Quicktime animation

Access

Old World Drought Atlas: view/download tree-ring reconstructed drought data

Documentation

Citation Information:

Edward R. Cook, Richard Seager, Yochanan Kushnir, Keith R. Briffa, Ulf Büntgen, David Frank, Paul J. Krusic, Willy Tegel, Gerard van der Schrier, Laia Andreu-Hayles, Mike Baillie, Claudia Baittinger, Niels Bleicher, Niels Bonde, David Brown, Marco Carrer, Richard Cooper, Katarina Čufar, Christoph Dittmar, Jan Esper, Carol Griggs, Björn Gunnarson, Björn Günther, Emilia Gutierrez, Kristof Haneca, Samuli Helama, Franz Herzig, Karl-Uwe Heussner, Jutta Hofmann, Pavel Janda, Raymond Kontic, Nesibe Köse, Tomáš Kyncl, Tom Levanič, Hans Linderholm, Sturt Manning, Thomas M. Melvin, Daniel Miles, Burkhard Neuwirth, Kurt Nicolussi, Paola Nola, Momchil Panayotov, Ionel Popa, Andreas Rothe, Kristina Seftigen, Andrea Seim, Helene Svarva, Miroslav Svoboda, Terje Thun, Mauri Timonen, Ramzi Touchan, Volodymyr Trotsiuk, Valerie Trouet, Felix Walder, Tomasz Ważny, Rob Wilson and Christian Zang. 2015. Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era. Science Advances, 1(10), e1500561. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1500561      

Representative Image
Example map of Europe showing June-August PDSI in 1540