Drought in the Anthropocene

Working Group: Drought in the Anthropocene
Chair: Anne Van Loon

In this human-influenced era, we need to rethink the concept of drought to include the human role in mitigating and enhancing drought. One major challenge is the quantification of impacts of drought on society, i.e. finding the relation between physical drought characteristics and wildfires, crop yields, electricity production, navigation, etc. This is a basic prerequisite for the prediction of changes in risk and vulnerability in the future. The aim of the working group is to investigate and quantify the interactions between drought and people.

For more background information on this topic, please find our Drought in the Anthropocene paper in Nature Geoscience or browse in the Panta Rhei Library for related papers.

Activities of the Working group:
This year we are setting up a number of experiments with the aim to study the influence of people on drought, the impact of drought on people and the feedbacks between drought and society. Our overarching goal with these experiments is to increase understanding of drought-society feedbacks, both positive and negative. The research questions we want to answer are:
A: How are people enhancing/alleviating drought events?
B: How are people impacted by drought events?
C: How are people responding to drought events by changing water use, land use, water management, water storage?
D: How do these feedback processes result in aggravated drought conditions and more (or other, e.g. ecological) impacts? And how in alleviated drought conditions and less impacts?
E: How human activities can exacerbate or alleviate societal impacts of droughts?

We will use three separate approaches, organised by three small subgroups, which each start with a different research question and feed their findings back to the other groups:
1) learning from reconstruction in case studies - contrasting case studies, data analysis & modelling - Led by Sally Rangecroft and Alexandra Nauditt
2) learning from experimentation in virtual model experiments -socio-hydrology, scenario analysis,sensitivity - Led by Giuliano Di Baldassarre
3) learning from patterns -comparative hydrology, large scale modelling, large scale remote
sensing - Led by Niko Wanders

Our newest project proposals targeted at students are found here:
Student Projects

Visual representation of Drought in the Anthropocene by Van Loon, et al. (2016)

Upcoming meeting:
TBC Oct      Annual workshop 2019 ASU in Tempe (AZ, USA) 
5-9 Aug       Writing retreat in the Peak District (UK) -Email Benedikt or Anne for details 
TBC July     Panta Rhei session+meeting at the IUGG conference in Montreal (Canada)

Previous meetings:
12        April 2019 EGU Vienna, AT
13        Dec 2018 AGU Washington DC, USA
10-12   Oct 2018 Annual meeting Utrecht, NL
12        April 2018 EGU Vienna, AT
8-12     Oct 2017  Annual meeting Freiburg, DE
27        April 2017 EGU Vienna, AT
15        Dec 2016 AGU San Francisco, USA
19-21   Sept 2016 Annual meeting Birmingham, UK
20        April 2016 EGU Vienna, AT

Notes of previous meetings available via Anne Van Loon

Group foto -Utrecht 12 Oct 2018