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In 2012, reduced rainfall, below normal levels, has been recorded during the winter months, impacting the water resources of extended parts of Southern and Central Europe (JRC 2012). Based on the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI1) for February2012, France, Spain, Portugal and England experienced extreme and severe drought condition, even more pronounced in the low cumulative rainfall as expressed by the SPI3 (December-January-February). Based on the daily soil moisture anomaly indicator the drought impacted Spain, Portugal, Southern France, Central Italy, Greece (locally), Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, with affected areas were also evident in Denmark, North Italy (Po river) and Northern UK (JRC 2012). Figure 4.6 below presents snapshots of drought condition in Europe as calculated by the European Drought Observatory (EDO) using the Combined Drought Indicator, based on SPI, soil moisture and fAPAR.

Figure 4.6 Mapping of drought conditions in Europe

Source: European Drought Observatory (EDO), Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Available online:
Note: Mapping of drought conditions in Europe as calculated by the Combined Drought Indicator (based on SPI, soil moisture and fAPAR) for top left March 21st, 2012 top right May 21st, 2012 and bottom left May 1st, 2003 known as a dry year for large parts of Europe.
There are three classification levels: watch (when a relevant precipitation shortage is observed), warning (when the precipitation translates into a soil moisture anomaly), alert (when these two conditions are accompanied by an anomaly in the vegetation condition)

Previous comments

  • mohauvol (Volker Mohaupt) 23 Aug 2012 20:54:49

    What does the acronym (fAPAR) mean?

    • vannewou (Wouter Vanneuville) 24 Aug 2012 10:56:42

      What does the acronym (fAPAR) mean?

      fAPAR, SPI and WEI(+) and the links in between these indicators will be explained in final version in a more readable way (section will be reshaped)

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